COVID-19 capacity restrictions have loosened; not for funeral homes

Michigan

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – In the year since the Coronavirus showed up in Michigan, we’ve seen many changes that have affected our lives. One of the most challenging changes, how we say goodbye.

Jeremy S. Hansen is the Funeral Director and Owner of Fassbender Swanson Hansen Funeral & Cremation Services. He has spent 27 years working in the funeral industry. An aspiration he’s had since high school.

He says his funeral homes have had to make adjustments. The current COVID-19 restriction for Michigan funerals is no more than 25 people. “It’s very difficult for people to be able to have that time to celebrate one’s life and memorialize one’s life with the community townspeople just based upon the restrictions that we have right now.” Hansen said.

While other businesses have seen restrictions loosen, funeral restrictions have stayed the same.

When asked the Michigan Health Department responded,

“The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) continues to make decisions that protect public health based on the best available science and data. Michigan has made great progress since the late fall peak, however, community spread of the virus continues across the state, which means that protections such as restrictions on the size of gatherings and consistent masking and social distancing remain necessary to protect frontline workers and Michiganders everywhere from COVID-19. If we all follow these rules, Michigan can return to a strong economy and get back to normal safely as soon as possible. COVID-19 spreads in indoor settings where individuals socialize without masks and, with growing number of cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in Michigan, we continue to proceed cautiously.

Since November we have taken actions that have helped reduce the rate of COVID-19 cases and saved lives. We know that the latest Pause to Save Lives, which was initiated under the Director’s epidemic order, likely saved more than 100,000 Michiganders from contracting this deadly virus and prevented nearly 2,000 deaths, according to a University of Michigan study. MDHHS continues to monitor the data to make decisions on reopening venues or activities as well as expanding capacity in those venues. This includes case counts, percent positivity and hospitalizations.

MDHHS continues to meet with stakeholder groups about capacity limits and other reopening questions and concerns and is willing to meet with those groups affected by the order to consider their input as we make future decisions.”

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