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Local funeral homes forced to change ceremony procedures amidst pandemic

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DULUTH, MN-- Laying a loved one to rest is never easy. 

Now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that task is even more of a challenge.

Funeral homes like Dougherty Funeral Home in Duluth are now having to make adjustments to how they do ceremonies.

Dan Dougherty started working at his family's funeral home with his father, eventually taking over the business.

But with the rise of the coronavirus pandemic, Dougherty says the business he's known for decades could be forever changed.

"We are having fewer services because people don't know what they can do because people are still very terrified of this," Dougherty said

Minnesotans are currently under a "stay at home" order which prevents gatherings of 10 or more people. Those guidelines now changing the way families mourn.

"A lot of them are considering doing something now for their own closure. And then having a public service down the road when things get safe," Dougherty said.  

Having two services could become a financial burden for many, which is why Dougherty is changing some policies within his business.

"What our policy is, is if we have a private service right now for a family we will be glad to do a service later on at a different time at no different cost," Dougherty said.

A kind gesture that hopefully will Allow broken hearts to heal during tough times.

"What is unique about a funeral and a visitation is no one is invited to them, people just show up. And as bad as your memory is at the time of the death, you remember who comes so it's all apart of getting through the process," Dougherty added.

As of now, state guidelines limiting the number of people able to attend a funeral service is in effect until at least April 10.

John Cardinale

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