The pandemic’s staggering death toll, now approaching 700,000 nationwide, is only part of the reason for the rising demand. It’s also driven by baby boomers who are looking ahead, ordering monuments, and deciding how they and their families will be commemorated after death.

Many companies orders and shipments have risen 55 percent this year when compared with this date in 2020-21, then the some of the granite suppliers busiest year ever.The increase translates into 7,000 more orders in 2021-22, many with multiple items, for at least 10,000 more families, it’s estimated.

When the pandemic kills nearly 700,000 people in a single country, that is only part of the reason that there is a huge increase in demand for reliable monument makers. This demand was also led by baby boomers and similarly aged generations. This demographic is planning their lives. They are ordering monuments and deciding how they will be remembered after pandemic-related illness and death.

As a result, the demand for headstones orders from granite suppliers for this year is up above 50 percent, compared to this time a few years ago when the granite suppliers of the world had their busiest year ever. This represents somewhere around 6,000 to 8,000 more orders in 2021-22, many of which will have multiple items, and a total of 9,000 to 10,000 more families, according to the estimates.

“It took us months to understand that this is real, this is happening,” said Gherardi, who is president of the Barre Granite Association and the Manufacturers Division of the Monument Builders of North America. Industry leaders now believe that the surge in demand could last three to five years, he said.