Dear Heartwood Families and Friends,
As Florida moves into Fall and COVID-19 continues as part of our lives, we want you to know how Heartwood Preserve is approaching this phase of the pandemic. Although we are an essential business, we are also a small operation and cannot afford to take avoidable risks to our staff.
- Our entrance gate to the Cemetery and Nature Preserve is open daily for visitors to our walking trails and those visiting burial sites.
- Our Welcome Center is open Monday through Friday to a limited number of visitors at a time. Masks are required to enter and we practice social distancing of 6′.
- We continue to service the community as a cemetery, and are considered an essential service (along with funeral homes and crematories).
- We continue to answer phone calls and respond to email.
- All events that were postponed will gradually be re-scheduled over the coming months, unless the pandemic has a resurgence. Check our Facebook and Calendar page for regular updates to our schedule. Any event we have will follow strict guidelines of limited numbers indoors, social distancing, and mask wearing.
- Fortunately, as the weather cools a bit, we are able to hold nearly all events outdoors, which is where we want to be anyway!
- If you have been thinking about preplanning at Heartwood and now find yourself with extra time on your hands, and a To Do list you’re checking off, now may be a good time to contact us.
- Preneed arrangements (“Preplanning”) can be done remotely. We can mail or email the forms, discuss everything with you over the phone, and receive payments by phone or mail.
- We also can meet with you at the Welcome Center by appointment. We practice social distancing, wear masks, and sanitize all touched surfaces before & after.
- We request that you do not make an appointment unless you follow these safety protocols. If you feel sick or know that you have been exposed to COVID, please stay home.
- Selection of a burial space can be done while practicing social distancing (you can walk around and find an area you like) or can be selected at a later date. Use of photos and video to locate a space is also an option.
Regretfully, we must make some changes – hopefully temporarily – to the way we hold our burial services. This is in keeping with established protocol of social distancing and mask-wearing as the best way to stem the spread of this awful virus and keep our families, staff and the community safe.
- Instead of a 6 person crew carrying and lowering the deceased, we will have a 2 to 4 person crew rolling our beautiful new wooden cart to carry the deceased to the grave.
- Shovels will be sanitized between handling by staff and family members who wish to assist.
- Attending guests may spread out along our trails in order to attend at a safe distance. No more than 10 people, including staff, may gather at graveside for the burial at one time, and all must maintain a 6 foot distance between household groups.
- Gathering inside the Welcome Center before or after the burial is limited to 15 people at a time, with masks required.
- In the case of a burial of someone who dies from COVID-19, only essential cemetery and funeral staff may be present for the burial, according to CDC guidelines.
- A larger gathering either graveside or in our Welcome Center to celebrate or remember the deceased may be held at a future date for any burials that take place during this time, at no additional charge.
- The family is welcome to livestream or video record burial services for those unable to attend.
- At any time, these rules may change as required by law or recommendation of the CDC, with which we will comply.
It is and will always be our deepest intention to carry out each burial with the utmost respect, dignity and compassion for the deceased and the family. We are saddened by the prospect of having to implement these changes that will impact the experience of our families on the day of burial. At the same time, the safety and health of our staff and all who attend or visit our cemetery is also important.
If you have an imminent situation or a death in the family, feel free to call/text Diana, our Manager, directly on her cell at 727-255-1899.
Come out for a walk on our trails! There are many autumn flowers blooming, with more coming out each day. It will heal your soul. We promise.
Thank you for understanding and for supporting Heartwood Preserve and the health and well-being of your community. Remember that this will not last forever.
Until such time, we remain…
Six Feet Over,
The Staff at Heartwood Preserve