Stateline funeral directors discuss pandemic’s impact on business

Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 6:24 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - As the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, funeral industry professionals discuss how the business has been impacted.

"I think what was most impactful for us is making sure that we are still operating in a safe manner, knowing that this virus was present in our community and still impacting other people," said Scott Olson, Olson Funeral & Cremation Services.

Local funeral home directors say the coronavirus pandemic changed the way the bereavement industry functions, but not when it comes to the amount of business.

"We've been steady the whole time we have not seen a dramatic uptick. But, things have kind of remained relatively normal for the circumstances," said Garrett Lizer, Delehanty Funeral Home.

With his family's mortuary helping Rockfordians for more than 100 years, including during the Spanish flu, Scott Olson says the concern lies in understanding that the fight is only just beginning.

"Year over year, I'm not seeing a huge change, but at the same time, Winnebago County has only experienced 111 deaths, and I say only, I don't take that number lightly. But as soon as you start kind of extrapolating that out throughout the entire community, it's not going to cause a huge influx in different numbers," said Olson.

"When you're dealing with something like a pandemic, it's probably important to remember it's a marathon, not a sprint. So, we're looking you know a year ahead, getting used to these new changes and integrating them into our overall daily business. So that in a year from now, we're still doing what we need to do," said Lizer.

Both funeral homes have strict COVID-19 safety guidelines, like requiring masks for mourners at all times, limiting large gatherings and offering remote services instead of in-person memorials.

Copyright 2020 WIFR. All rights reserved.

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