By Laura Haefeli

STOCKTON (CBS13) – Dave Massey owns two funeral homes in San Joaquin County, and for the first time, they don’t have room for the bodies.

“We have installed additional storage unit for the deceased so that we can keep up with demand,” Massey said.

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Massey says his industry is one that often tries to say yes to their clients.

“These are definitely trying times in terms of having to say no. In terms of what they would like to do to send their loved ones off and to say goodbye,” Massey said.

These days, the responsibility of receiving a body weighs heavier for Mr. Massey.

“They haven’t seen their loved ones in months sometimes if they were in a COVID care unit. Folks are very much anxious to see their loved ones and for us to have to put another delay on that, it’s hard to explain that,” he said.

But he says he can’t prepare a body until it’s released to him.

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“The doctors’ offices are backed up, the coroners’ offices are backed up, the health department is backed up, and so we’re just one part of that,” Massey said.

Tiffany Heyer with San Joaquin County OES agrees, saying it trickles down to the funeral homes.

She predicts after the holiday season it’s only a matter of time before San Joaquin County may have nowhere for the dead to go.

“Los Angeles is struggling with both their coroners. Then down to the funeral homes. It is something that we’ve been concerned about,” Heyer said.

CBS13 did ask San Joaquin County OES what happens if county morgues or funeral homes do run out of space. They weren’t prepared to get into specifics but say there is an emergency plan in place if that were to happen.

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