25 percent capacity limit “hasn’t been an issue” for funerals, visitations

How churches and funeral homes have helped families grieve during a pandemic
Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 9:57 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Funerals and visitations are back on a regular basis. But how they look and when they happen are a little bit different.

But to just say different may be an understatement.

“These days, funerals are much smaller, much more private, lots of times by invitation only,” said Reverend Phillip Schneider of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Wausau.

Those guidelines are the same at many churches and funeral homes, and even with Governor Evers issuing an order to limit capacity to 25 percent, most places aren’t even reaching that level.

“Our sanctuary here can usually hold up to 300 people so we limit that to 75 and we’re usually a bit lower than that actually,” Tim Swanson, a pastor at Rib Mountain Lutheran Church, explained.

“We’re not seeing as many people, especially in the at-risk groups,” said the owner of Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Homes Greg Zoromski.

There, they’ve been operating at 25 percent capacity for months now. It hasn’t been needed.

“25 percent capacity has not been an issue,” Zoromski said.

During the period of March and April, services were being delayed. Sometimes it was months at a time.

“We are just caught up now, I believe,” Zoromski said.

And the feeling is different. Even if families are still getting closure that is needed after losing a loved one.

“[We] used to give somebody a big hug, well those days just don’t happen either.”

"With less people there and less opportunities for families to share their experiences, it definitely has a lesser feeling to it.

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