BACOLOD CITY – The local government units here and in Negros Occidental has ordered the temporary closure of cemeteries from October 30 to November 2, 2021 to enhance the health and safety protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an Executive Order (EO) issued by Mayor Evelio Leonardia, business owners, proprietors, and operators of private or public cemeteries, memorial parks, columbaries and the like are required to implement strict measures in limiting the influx and crowding of people in visiting of these places.
It will be done during the days prior to or after the temporary closure days provided up to a maximum of 30 percent of the venue capacity coupled with the strict compliance of health protocol, and ensure that no visitors shall stay overnight in the memorial parks or facilities.
Leonardia said that priests and ministers are allowed to bless the graves the during the temporary closure days, but may only be accompanied by one assistant, and all of them should strictly observe the minimum health protocols.
This is in consideration of the familial, cultural, and religious need of Filipinos to pay respect to their departed loved ones during the observance of Undas, the mayor noted.
However, during the days of temporary closure, interment or burial services shall still be allowed with the stringent observance of wearing of face masks and face shields, and physical distancing. The 30% maximum occupancy restriction, however, will not apply during such interment services.
For the province, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson stated in the EO that the province has 31,453 COVID-19 cases, as of October 13, 2021.
Because of the constant rising in number of COVID-19 cases in the province, there is a compelling reason to regulate the operation of all memorial parks, cemeteries, and columbaries over the province in order to avoid mass gatherings and prevent the outbreak of the virus, Lacson said.
Lacson stressed that in order to sustain the efforts of the province to contain the spread of the virus, there is an urgent need to prohibit the influx of people in the said places.