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What metro Detroit funeral homes are doing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic

Family, friends, legends attend Howe funeral
Posted at 5:25 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 18:50:21-04

(WXYZ) — After more than 100 years in business, AJ Desmond & Sons funeral home thought they’d seen everything. But they have never seen this.

Full coverage: Coronavirus outbreak in Michigan

“The industry has evolved greatly over the years, but nothing like this," said Kevin Desmond, President of the Michigan funeral home.

Monday morning, Desmond and scores of other funeral home owners took part in a webinar on Facebook live. Headed by the National Funeral Directors’ Association, the topic was how funerals can proceed in wake of guidance from the CDC to limit gatherings to 50 or less.

“We don’t have the luxury of working from home,” he said. “Our jobs, we need to be here.”

Last week, the State of Michigan banned gatherings over more than 250. Today, President Trump issued guidelines asking that people not gather in groups larger than 10.

“Most likely we’re having many private, family-only services, but then we’ll be discussing family’s having a more public memorial service in the future,” Desmond said.

AJ Desmond & Sons says they’re now offering live-stream services at no charge, so those who are unable to attend a memorial are still able to watch and participate.

As for in-person services, Desmond says about five families have called to place memorials on hold. The funeral home plans to continue to hold services as long as they’re allowed to.

“We’re laying out the most up to date information we have and families need to decide what’s best for them at this time,” Desmond said.