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Funeral homes deal with running services amid crisis

It's always hard losing a loved one, but for families who have lost someone in recent weeks, it's been especially tough due to new regulations surrounding gathering sizes in Illinois.

It's something local funeral homes and state officials are dealing with.

Officials at the Hansen-Spear Funeral Home in Quincy said they've already had to react to the issue, and while they've been helping people postpone services to a later date if possible, they said it isn't a route everyone is willing to take.

"One of the biggest challenges that we're facing is the restrictions on gathering sizes, with it limited to 10 people, families aren't really able to have visitations right now," said Hansen-Spear Funeral Home owner William Spear.

He said it's never an easy thing to talk about with a grieving family, but all they can do right now is try to find a way to accommodate them.

"Some of the ways that we've been able to offer for families to deal with this, is if there's a larger family we'll have to separate the times when they're coming in for their private viewing, the funeral will be limited but we do have the ability and we are offering to live stream the services either from here or the church," said Spear.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said she understands it's difficult for families.

"And we won't fall into the trap of forgetting that these are people with families and friends who love them and people who are worried about them," said Dr. Ezike.

But she said it's the right thing to do to keep people safe.

"Let's send our thoughts our support and our prayers to all these families and their friends," suggested Dr. Ezike.

Spear said technology is one way that enables us to still support these families.

"I think reaching out to families, whether you are friends with them on social media, whether you send them a card or a note or a text to let them know you're thinking about them, especially since you can't come in person," said Spear, talking about how they offer the ability to leave both private and public notes on their website.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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