ALL cemeteries in Cebu City will be closed from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3, 2020 to prevent mass gatherings in observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days considering the risk posed by coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella said the public may visit the graves of their departed loved ones until Oct. 29 or after Nov. 3.
The Cebu City Government is the first local government unit (LGU) outside Luzon to follow the example of Manila City.
Other LGUs in Cebu have yet to finalize plans.
In Consolacion, Mayor Joannes Alegado plans to allow visits to the cemeteries by schedule.
Alegado said he will still consult the public.
In Talisay City, Mayor Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas Jr. said he still has to consult other officials and experts.
“Maybe we can make a decision within the month,” said Gullas.
Every “kalag-kalag,” Filipinos traditionally travel to their hometowns and converge in the cemeteries to remember deceased family members.
Some hold parties and even spend the night in the cemeteries.
In 2019, around 70,000 individuals visited the cemeteries in the city on All Souls’ Day alone. No data was available on the size of the crowds on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
Labella will issue an executive order on Sept. 10 to list the guidelines on the closure of cemeteries.
There are 23 public and private cemeteries located in Cebu City.
Labella said he decided to follow the example of Manila City Mayor Francisco Domagoso because it would be difficult to enforce physical distancing in the cemeteries.
Domagoso announced on Sept. 8 his directive to close cemeteries and columbaries from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3.
On Sept. 9, other LGUs in Metro Manila namely San Juan, Valenzuela, Mandaluyong, Pateros and Malabon also announced that cemeteries within their jurisdiction will be closed.
Mass gatherings are limited to 50 percent of a venue’s capacity in areas that are under modified general community quarantine such as Cebu City and the entire Cebu Province.
However, mass gatherings are allowed only if physical distancing is observed because of the threat of Covid-19.
As part of the health protocol against Covid-19, everyone is required to stay at least one meter apart from each other. (JJL with ANV)