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Title: Section 77.5 - Funeral establishments

Effective Date


77.5 Funeral establishments.

(a) The business and practice of funeral directing shall be conducted and registered only from a fixed funeral establishment.

(b) Separate buildings or portions thereof connected by a private passageway, walk or driveway shall constitute a single funeral establishment.

(c) After February 28, 1974, all funeral firms and their funeral establishments shall comply and conform as follows:

(1) Embalming. No embalming of a body of a deceased person shall be performed in a funeral establishment except in a room set aside exclusively for embalming or other preparation of a body of a deceased person. Such room shall be maintained and kept in a clean and sanitary condition.

(2) Embalming and preparation room. Every embalming and preparation room shall be constructed, equipped and maintained as follows:

(i) the surfaces of the floor, walls and ceiling shall be covered with tile or other hard, smooth, impervious washable material;

(ii) the room shall be adequately lighted and adequately ventilated. The ventilation shall be provided by an exhaust fan or by an appropriate air-conditioning unit which will completely remove objectionable fumes;

(iii) the room shall be equipped and provided with hot and cold running water, a utility sink, and cabinets, closets or shelves for instruments and supplies; (iv) the room shall be equipped with adequate sewage and waste disposal and drainage facilities and systems;

(v) the doors shall be tight-closing and rigid, and any windows of the room shall be so maintained as to obstruct any view into such room;

(vi) the embalming or preparation table shall be nonporous; and

(vii) the room shall be equipped with proper and convenient receptacles for refuse, bandages, cotton and other waste materials.

(3) Business telephone. Every registered funeral firm shall have, listed and in working order, at its registered address a business telephone, the number of which shall be indicated as the business telephone number. Any other telephone number also listed for the funeral firm shall be specifically designated as "residence telephone number," "number to call if no answer," or otherwise identified.

(4) Display of signs. Every registered funeral firm shall display a sign indicating the true funeral firm name as registered with the department. Such sign shall be conspicuously located at or near the main entrance and shall be visible from the exterior of the building. The lettering of the funeral firm name shall be legible and shall have a minimum height of 1-1/2 inches. Wherever the name of the funeral firm appears on a sign indicating the location or presence of an establishment, only the funeral firm name registered with the department shall be used. A change in a funeral firm's registered name shall be indicated on any and all signs. Signs shall conform with all local laws, ordinances and regulations.

(5) Listings, publications and advertising. Only true funeral firm names and addresses, as registered with the department, shall appear in telephone listings or other publications and in advertising by any media whatsoever of funeral firms. This paragraph shall not apply to the listing or advertising of funeral firms outside the State.

(6) Food and beverages. The provision of space, facilities, equipment, accommodations or supplies for, or the preparation, sale, service or distribution of, or the consumption of, food or nonalcoholic beverages to or by friends, relatives, mourners, family, visitors or next of kin of any deceased person in the funeral establishment is permitted, but not required to be offered. Food or nonalcoholic beverages may also be provided by a third-party catering service, provided that such catering service is not owned by or affiliated with the funeral firm engaged in funeral directing at the funeral establishment. This paragraph is subject to the following conditions:

(i) the preparation and serving of food and nonalcoholic beverages in the funeral establishment shall be limited to arranging, opening, displaying, and assembling items for consumption, and does not include cooking or heating of food items with the exception of hot beverages such as coffee, tea or similar items;  

(ii) food items must be limited to incidental refreshments such as baked goods, sandwiches, snacks, platters, pre-packaged food items and items which may be required by the religious practices of the family members, mourners, visitors or friends of the deceased;

(iii) the preparation and serving of any food and beverages shall be prohibited in the: preparation area as defined in section 77.5(d)(3) of this Part; and the chapel or reposing room as defined in section 77.5(d)(1) of this Part, whenever there is deceased person present for a viewing, visitation or funeral services.

(iv) any separate charges for the use of facilities for the serving of food and nonalcoholic beverages

(a) shall be charged only for a specifically dedicated food and beverage service area,

(b) shall be stated clearly on the General Price List, and

(c) shall include any charges for cleaning, equipment or the like, as required by section 79.4(e)(6). 

(d) A funeral establishment of a funeral firm registering after February 28, 1974 shall, in addition to the provisions of subdivision (c) of this section, contain at least one of each of the following:

(1) a chapel or reposing room, containing at least 300 square feet of floor space, to be used exclusively for the conduct of funeral services;

(2) an arrangement office, to be used exclusively for making funeral arrangements and for other related business matters; and

(3) a preparation room, containing at least 120 square feet of floor space. The preparation, disinfection, embalming, washing, dressing and casketing or other care of a body of a deceased person shall take place only in such room, which room shall contain only articles and equipment necessary for such preparation. Such room and equipment, instruments and articles contained therein shall be maintained and kept in a clean and sanitary condition. Temporary storage of an uncasketed body of a deceased person awaiting burial or other final disposition shall take place only in such preparation room or in a storage room in a manner acceptable to the commissioner. (e) No change in name or transfer of title or interest to a successor entity or transfer of title to or leasehold of real property wherein a funeral establishment is located by a firm registered prior to March 1, 1974, and continuing thereafter to operate from such funeral establishment, shall require compliance with the provisions of subdivision (d) of this section.

Statutory Authority

Public Health Law, Section 3401


VOLUME A-1a (Title 10)