For years, New Jersey has been one among only a few states to ban funeral homes from serving food and refreshments on their premises. Acknowledging the limits this places on families and friends coming together in times of mourning, Assembly Democrats Nancy Pinkin (D-Middlesex), Paul Moriarty (D-Camden, Gloucester) and Andrew Zwicker (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon) sponsored legislation to amend the restriction, which the Governor recently signed into law.
Under the new law (formerly A-4323), funeral homes will be able to serve food and non-alcoholic beverages on site given distribution, storage and consumption remain separate from areas used for the storage and preparation of a body. The law will not permit preparation of food on site.
Sponsors of the new law released the following joint statement:
“This is about community, comfort and convenience. It’s about helping funeral homes in the State to expand their business and services to better provide for the families they serve.
“For people of many faiths and cultures being able to gather around food to celebrate the life and memory of a loved one who has passed is very important. And often, the ability to serve something as simple as a cup of coffee or a pastry during a wake or service can provide great comfort.
“With this law, mortuary service providers will be able to better cater memorial services to meet their customer’s needs and in a way that best honors those who have passed on.”