THE Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases has approved a recommendation to close cemeteries during the observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days in November to prevent gatherings that may serve as coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) superspreader events.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said based on the resolution passed by the IATF, all cemeteries nationwide should be closed from October 29 to November 2.

He said people may visit their departed loved ones before and after the said period.

Año said gathering is limited to 10 persons per group and only 30 percent of the venue capacity will be allowed.

He said local government units (LGUs) may increase the allowable visiting capacity to 50 percent depending on their Covid-19 risk assessment in their areas of responsibilities.

“Kinakailangan din magpasa ng ordinansa or executive order ang mga LGUs upang ito ay maipatupad nang maayos upang maging ligtas ang ating mga kababayan sa paggunita ng darating na Undas,” said Año.

Aside from policemen, Año said force multipliers and barangay officials are also required to enforce the existing protocols to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and to ensure peace and order inside and outside cemeteries, memorial parks and columbarium.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Guillermo Eleazar has directed all police units to set up police assistance desks in cemeteries and memorial parks nationwide in anticipation of early visitors ahead of Undas.

He also ordered police officers to coordinate with LGUs on security plans and other related measures.

Eleazar also reminded the public to plan ahead and check the regulations that will be implemented in their respective LGUs in relation to visiting cemeteries this year.

“Nagawa na natin ito noong nakaraang taon kaya’t nasisiguro kong magagampanan ulit nang maayos ng ating kapulisan ang kanilang tungkulin sa panahon ng Undas,” he said.

Last year, some LGUs closed down cemeteries and facilities alike on November 1 and 2 in anticipation of the influx of people amid the threat of Covid-19. (SunStar Philippines)