Funerals affected by coronavirus crisis

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Funeral homes and the people they serve are having to deal with the state order banning gatherings of 10 or more people.

The family of Betty Cate received word Monday afternoon that she had passed following a lengthy illness.

Cate had four children, many grandchildren, nieces, nephews, plus a lot of friends from her church.

While the funeral industry is considered an essential business, the Cate family has decided against a service at the funeral home and the number of people allowed to attend her graveside service will be very limited.

Betty Cate was 90 years old. Her son, Steven Cate said she lived a full life, although for the last eight years she suffered from Alzheimer’s.

Many of their extended family were hoping to attend the graveside service two days from now at Highland Memorial Cemetery, but Gov. Lee’s Executive Order 17 about social gatherings changed funeral plans.

The order was issued a day before Cate died. It will limit the number of people who can gather graveside on Thursday.

Steve believes a graveside service is a family gathering, not a social one. He’d like to have his mother’s caregivers attend, even members from her church, but that won’t happen.

Click Funeral Home will be directing the graveside service for the Cate family.

Larry Click says funeral directors are caught in the middle. He says funeral homes serve grieving families in many ways.

However, at the same time, mortuaries and cemeteries are regulated by the state.

Steve Crate says he will try to limit those who attend his mother’s graveside service.

Governor Lee’s Executive Order 17 was issued for all businesses across the state to limit possible exposure to the coronavirus.

According to a directive sent to funeral homes, the order considers social gatherings to include funeral visitations, memorials, and graveside services.

Presently, the order that limits social gathering to under 10 people is in effect until April 6, that’s 13 days from now.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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