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Pandemic’s impact on funeral homes and grieving families

Published: Dec. 12, 2020 at 5:51 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -Trying times as the pandemic continues, especially for an industry trying to stay ahead of the surge.

It’s the emotional aspect that’s changed for funeral homes and families.

“This has been the strangest and most difficult year of my career,” Jim Boulger owner at Boulger Funeral Home says.

An uptick in business, juggling CDC guidelines and adjusting to a more distant approach in a personal business.

“Dealing with families during a pandemic has just been a little extra difficult,” he says.

Boulger adds the pandemic is affecting some people’s ability to grieve. At the start of the pandemic, 10 people were allowed at a service. Now it’s limited to 50 percent capacity.

“We have a lot of families that have had loved ones pass away months ago or at the beginning of the pandemic and they’re waiting to do their public celebration or public funeral at a later date,” he says. “I think people who had that thought, thought we might be done with this by now.”

Like most businesses, they’re adapting. They’ve started live-streaming services for families. They’re also having private services and offering a public service at a later date for free.

“We have a lot of people that come in and they pre-planned their funeral 10 years ago, 20 years ago,” Boulger says. “Well then they pass during this and we have to customize it to what we’re allowed to do.”

It’s difficult to plan for the time when a loved one passes away, even more difficult during a pandemic. That’s why Boulger says they’re doing what they can to make sure families have a chance to say goodbye.

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