Families are missing one of the crucial steps of grieving as funeral gatherings are no longer allowed during New Zealand's lockdown response to Covid-19.
Funeral directors in the Bay of Plenty say while they will still offer their services, they are worried the inability to come together and grieve the loss of a loved one may affect people's mental health.
On March 23, the Government announced the country would enter into alert level 4 and all non-essential services were forced to close.
Funeral homes, which provide services such as body removals, registering deaths, supporting families and organising burial or cremation were classed as an essential service.
However, gatherings at burials, cremations, memorial services, open or closed caskets or viewings, funeral wakes, processions or receptions and social gatherings were not.
Todd Gower and Mike Lee, who own Rotorua's Collingwood Funeral Home, are trying to navigate this new reality.
"The most difficult part is the grieving process is changing," Lee said.
The traditions of farewelling a loved one would change, and the home's biggest concern was the long-term effect this would have on families and friends' mental health, he said.
"If you eliminate that, it's going to be really difficult for people, down the track."
The rapidly evolving situation of Covid-19 also meant death was at the forefront of many minds.
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"More people are inquiring about their parents or grandparents because they're worried about them," Lee said.
"They're more thinking, 'what happens if something goes wrong with this virus with my nana'."
But Gower said while people were concerned, it was important to stay calm.
"We're here for them, it may just be that the process is different, or may be different, to what it's been in the past," he said.
"What we'll provide will still remain."
Arrangements would now be made through social media, Skype or over-the-phone and livestreaming would be provided free-of-charge.
Tauranga's Jones & Company Funeral Services director Chris Andrews said he has already had a family choose to make a funeral completely private to not put close friends at risk. That was when the Government still permitted a 100 people cap on indoor gatherings.
"The changing ritual of a funeral will affect some people quite a deal," he said.
Andrews was especially worried about elderly, who may not have access to the internet or email. Usually, many older people came to the home to talk things through.
The funeral home was ensuring their service would still be safe and working how they could help those, who might have recently lost a job, pay a funeral account.
Andrews said the price of funerals would be lower as catering was a significant cost.
Despite the lockdown restrictions, "It could save us having more funerals", he said.
Ngāti Whakaue kaumātua Monty Morrison said marae had been closed and no tangihanga could take place, which he said took away the chance to grieve loved ones.
"I'm saddened the opportunity to do that is actually gone.
"My head is saying it's the right thing to do and my heart is sending aroha out to families who have their bereaved and can't bereave their loved ones in a way which is culturally appropriate."
A social media post by Ngāti Whakaue stated: "It is not natural or normal for our people to be isolated from one another, or to be prevented from showing physical support or aroha."
Morrison said it was now about doing the best for those who had passed away while looking after the wider family.
"If we do what we're being asked to do and take the appropriate care ... then, hopefully, the number of deaths will be decreased."
Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand president Gary Taylor said families who lost someone may hold resentment for this time in history.
"Funerals are an essential part of our grieving process - the gathering together, the being together, the support, the ability to express ourselves emotionally in that safe environment."
Options for funeral homes and priests including livestreaming or immediate burial or cremation with a memorial service at a later time, but this could still have dire knock-on effects on someone's mental health, he said.
"It's only dawning on people now that the gathering and support ... it's a vital part of the process."
There was also a very real possibility those who lost a loved one would feel "short-changed" as the anniversary of a death would be "overshadowed" by the Covid-19 crisis.
Taylor said funeral homes were also businesses, and many might not survive the financial impact of the virus.