ALL cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbariums nationwide will be closed for a week this Undas to prevent mass gatherings that may lead to the further spread of COVID-19, Inter-Agency Task Force spokesperson Harry Roque said on Friday.
Visitors will not be allowed in public and private cemeteries from October 29 to November 4. This is similar to the proposal of 17 Metro Manila mayors.
The IATF also set a maximum capacity of 30 percent in all cemeteries and memorial from September 17 to November 15. Roque said all visitors during this period must wear face shields and masks, while observing physical distancing. There will also be no age restrictions for those who will visit cemeteries during Undas, meaning those under 21 and over 60 years old are allowed to visit their departed loved ones.
Earlier, Manila Council (MMC) chairman and Paranaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez said interment and cremation services will be allowed during the six-day temporary closure of cemeteries and columbarium during this year’s observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
The MMC agreed to the closure for six days of private and public cemeteries in their respective cities to prevent mass gatherings that may lead to the further spread of COVID-19.
However, Olivarez clarified that interment and creation services should continue in the metropolis during the six-day closure of both facilities from October 29 to November 4, or during “Undas” holidays.
“For the past six months, rapid cremation has drastically increased not only in Metro Manila but in the country during this COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, cremation facilities located inside the private and public cemetery should be open during this six-day closure,” explained Olivarez.
He was informed that some cremation facilities in the metropolis has been conducting seven to 10 cremations a day, since contamination from the virus started to take off in March.
Under the existing government guidelines, local government units should make sure that bodies of patients who died of the coronavirus are cremated within 12 hours.
Crematorium personnel must also report to work even during holidays and even during the temporary closure of the facility, according to the guidelines.
Edd Reyes, CNN Philippines