'Give a smile instead of a hug:' Social distancing presents challenge to funeral-goers

SHEBOYGAN COUNTY -- In times of sorrow, nothing feels better than a hug. But in the fight against COVID-19, distance is what's encouraged. It presents a challenge to those grieving the loss of a loved one.

Mark Krause

"Its what we're all being told to do, and I think as good citizens we need to abide by that," said Mark Krause, president of Krause Funeral Homes.

Krause says the state of Wisconsin is giving funerals new guidelines during the ban on large gatherings.

"People are asking, 'Can we still do food service?' No, we can't, we have to abide by the rules," said Krause.

He said funerals are still happening. However, more intimate services are encouraged, there will also be an increase in sanitizing.

"We can have 10 people in this large room, we can have 10 people in another large room, as long as those groups of people don't cross paths, that's OK," Krause said.

Sheboygan County health officials sent a letter informing people who attended funerals coordinated by Suchan Funerals of a potential exposure in early March. The letter stated that someone who tested positive for the coronavirus was also there. The recipients of the letter are told they are at "low risk" but should monitor their symptoms.

"Give a smile instead of a hug, give a wink instead of a handshake," Krause said, "be cognizant of social distancing."

Krause said they are currently making signs encouraging social distancing while giving someone your condolences, but they understand it is a tough adjustment for everyone. At no cost, they are offering all families the option of an additional celebration of life for their departed loved ones at a later date.

"Right now we're trying to do whatever we can within all the guidelines we've been given to take care of families and be good citizens to the community," said Krause.

Krause said people don't even have to come in to make funeral arrangements. They are encouraging people to fill out information online or over the phone.