BACOLOD City Mayor Evelio Leonardia has ordered the temporary closure of cemeteries, memorial parks, columbaria and the like from October 29 to November 4, 2020, to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Leonardia signed Executive Order (EO) No. 61 on Friday, September 18, 2020. The EO complies with the National Inter-Agency Task Force (NIATF) Resolution No. 72, which aims to enhance public health and safety protocols during the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic in Bacolod City.
The mayor on Friday said the NIATF-Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (MEID) issued Resolution No. 72 to prevent mass gatherings during the annual celebration of “Undas” (respect for the dead), and other related regulations as preventive measures against the further spread of Covid-19.
He said presidential directives, orders and prerogatives are still in effect amid the Covid-19 public health emergency.
"[Undas], which is occasioned by crowding of people, will transgress the current national and local public policy on the strict prohibition against mass gatherings that can cause the unwarranted spread of Covid-19 infection,” he added.
Leonardia said the promotion of health, protection and safety of the community, and preservation of life are among his priorities.
The NIATF resolution said from September 17 until November 15, visitor occupancy in all public and private cemeteries, memorial parks, columbaria and the like throughout the country will be increased to a maximum of 30 percent of the venue capacity. The 30 percent maximum occupancy restriction, however, does not apply from October 29 to November 4, as all places of the dead are mandated closed.
During the days of temporary closure, interment or burial services in Bacolod City will be allowed but must follow basic protocols like wearing face masks and face shields, and physical distancing. Only immediate family members of the deceased will be allowed to attend the services.
After the “Undas Season” ends on November 15, 2020, restrictions of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine governing mass gatherings will be implemented corresponding to the community quarantine category then in operation.
Owners and operators of cemeteries, memorial parks, columbaria are also required to implement strict measures in limiting the influx and crowding of people. They are also told to disseminate information to the public on their operation hours and ensure that no visitor will stay overnight.
Cemeteries must also constantly remind visitors to always wear face masks, face shields and observe physical distancing, the EO further stated.