But many of the older retorts can’t run for 24 hours a day and need cool-down periods between burnings, she said. Meanwhile, many families are opting for cremations in the hopes of holding memorials for loved ones later when restrictions on funeral gatherings are lifted, she said.

“More people are choosing cremation because they can’t have a funeral,” Kemmis said.

Stephen Kemp, owner of Kemp Funeral Home & Cremation Services in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Michigan, had to rent a 32-foot-long refrigerated trailer to store bodies awaiting cremation. The crematorium he usually contracts with is backed up with bodies, even though they’ve been working nonstop, he said.

“We have to make appointments for cremations,” Kemp said. The crematorium “has a cooler [for bodies] but they’re overflowing.”