Gov. DeWine offers Ohioans advice on handling funerals, weddings amid COVID-19 outbreak

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — Governor Mike DeWine issued guidance to Ohioans on how they could safely handle upcoming funerals and weddings during his Tuesday afternoon news conference.

DeWine has ordered that all schools, restaurants, bars and other recreational facilities close during the coronavirus outbreak.

However, funerals, weddings and religious gatherings were not impacted by this order.

When asked by reporters how families should address upcoming funerals and weddings, DeWine shared the following:

“I can tell you, we were contacted by a friend of mine who had somebody in the family who died. They were talking about how do we deal with this. They came to the conclusion that they would have their own service, but they would postpone the public service until later," the Governor said.

He acknowledges that “this is certainly very difficult for families” but suggests that Ohioans could take a similar approach.

“People plan weddings for a long, long time, and again, we would just ask them to figure out a way to celebrate the wedding, but maybe postpone the big celebration," he continued. "The last thing that any of us want is for a funeral or a wedding to be the cause of someone else dying. Very happy occasion as far as the wedding, but you don’t want someone in the family to get sick. Obviously, it’s difficult for relatives from out of state now to get in.”

Meanwhile, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland is resounding the Governor's suggestion, encouraging couples to reschedule weddings if possible.

The Diocese released the following statement to FOX 8:

"Every effort should be made to reschedule weddings during this crisis if possible. If a civil license is available, a wedding can be celebrated with immediate family members only, keeping in mind the maximum number persons in attendance according to government directives."

Additionally, the Cuyahoga County Probate Court is no longer issuing marriage licenses until further notice with the exception of urgent circumstances.

With the virus outbreak on the rise, many couples have already chosen to postpone their ceremonies, especially since numerous event venues have closed.

One local wedding planner says several of her clients with May weddings are already looking to possible alternate dates in 2021.

"The first situation that it disrupted was the closing of the venus around town. We had about four of them close within three weeks of each other so brides were scrambling trying to find a new venue because the venues closed without warning," said Kimberly Mack of Dream Event Services LLC in Shaker Heights.

"Number one, I ask them to get wedding insurance so if it got canceled and nobody could find another day they could be reimbursed for all money spent. Another thing, I said to them was considering moving their date to later on if you can," she added.

If couples do not want to re-schedule their weddings Mack urges them to hold off having a reception or celebration until a later time.

"If they wanted to get married they just have to get married at that time. Invite just a small group of people, close friends, family and do it at a small setting and then hold the reception at a different time. It might be a little awkward, but you can always renew your vows or go through the ceremony later. But, these are trying times. Everybody is having trouble figuring this out," she said.

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