UNLIKE in 2020, cemeteries in Cebu City will be open on All Saints and All Souls Day this November 1 and 2, 2021.
However, the Cebu City Government might require those visiting their dead to get vaccinated against Covid-19 first before they can be allowed to enter the cemeteries.
This after the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) met with various sectors, including the Archdiocese of Cebu, to come up with guidelines for the yearly observance with the City still under general community quarantine (GCQ).
Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, who also serves as the EOC’s deputy chief implementer, said compared to last year when only priests were allowed to visit public and private cemeteries during All Saints and All Souls Days, the public will now have a chance to visit their dead.
Strict guidelines will be imposed on all cemeteries in the City to prevent another surge of Covid-19 cases in the city, Garganera said.
Cebu City has five major public cemeteries--Carreta, Calamba, Pardo, Talamban and Barrio Luz--that are all owned and managed by the Archdiocese of Cebu.
Under the Archdiocese’s proposal to the EOC, public and private cemeteries will be allowed to open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the two-day observance.
Only fully-vaccinated individuals and those who are 15 years old and above will be allowed to enter the cemeteries, the proposal further states.
Local police and security personnel will be manning the cemeteries to thoroughly inspect individuals for their vaccination cards.
Garganera said while they have already secured an initial agreement with the Archdiocese and other sectors for the implementation of strict guidelines in the city’s cemeteries, they will still need to seek the approval of acting Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.
Once approved, Rama will use those guidelines to issue an executive order, Garganera said.
Meanwhile, government personnel led by the Cebu City Police Office, the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the Prevention Restoration Order Beautification Enhancement (Probe) will inspect all public and private cemeteries prior to the two-day observance to determine their maximum capacity.
Garganera said once they determine the maximum capacity of each cemetery, they will place a cap on visitors to ensure that the social distancing protocol will be strictly observed.
He also urged visitors not to stay long inside the public and private cemeteries to give other visitors a chance to also pay their respect to their dead loved ones.
The Cebu City Health Department said that as of Oct. 12, 2021, a total of 319,999 individuals from the City have been fully vaccinated.
This is equivalent to 42.82 percent of the 700,000 individuals in the City that are eligible to be vaccinated against the Covid-19. (JKV)