LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu - Mayor Junard Chan has ordered the closure of all the cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaries in this island city from October 31 to November 2.
Chan said in a radio interview on Friday residents who will visit their departed loved ones are allowed to go to cemeteries only from Oct. 15-30 and November 3-6.
He said he issued an executive order (EO) prohibiting individuals from trooping to the graveyards during the Kalag-Kalag (Undas) 2021 observance to prevent another surge of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.
Because of the order, the major cemeteries in the city will not be permitted to accept visitors -- the municipal cemetery in Sitio Tugas, the Roman Catholic cemetery along Humay-Humay Road, and the cemetery run by the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, all in Barangay Gun-ob.
Likewise closed during the Undas or All Saints' and All Souls' Day are the Mactan Island Memorial Garden in Marigondo village; the Haven of Peace Memorial Garden in Mactan village; and St. Augustine Parish Cemetery in Barangay Sta. Rosa on Olango Island.
"However, as an exception to the general rule, immediate family members may enter the cemeteries and memorial parks strictly to attend burial and cremation activities during the said period and with strict compliance with minimum public health safety standards and social distancing requirements," the order said.
To avoid overcrowding, Roman Catholic cemeteries will only allow visitors based on the alphabetical order, with residents whose family name starts with the letter "A" allowed only on October 15, and so on and so forth.
Residents who are visiting the Catholic cemeteries are instructed to secure passes. The Nuestra Senora dela Regla, the biggest parish church on the island, will only issue 400 passes per batch or a total of 1,600 passes per day.
Visitors will be required to present a valid ID along with their entry pass.
"All visitors should wear face masks and shields before entering the cemetery and marshals will ensure physical distancing inside. The police, security guards and force multipliers will conduct regular roving within the cemetery to ensure full compliance with safety protocols," Chan said. (PNA)