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In a first, New Jersey now allows funeral homes to serve refreshments to mourners

Melanie Burney | August 16, 2019 | Philadelphia Inquirer |


In New Jersey, mourners can now share memories and refreshments at the funeral parlor when they say farewell to loved ones, but there will be no champagne toasts at the casket.

A law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy lifts a decades-old ban that barred mourners from consuming food and beverages in funeral homes. Sponsors say the change provides a measure of comfort for mourners waiting to pay their respects and for grieving family members who may spend hours greeting guests.

“We were one of the few states that didn’t allow it,” said State Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (D., Middlesex), who sponsored the bill. “It just seemed like it was time for a change.”

Pennsylvania is now the only state that prohibits refreshments in funeral parlors. It took several years for passage of the New Jersey law; other states, most recently New York in 2016, gradually lifted similar bans over the years.

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