IATF orders closure of cemeteries Oct. 29-Nov. 4

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*Andy Alvarez file photo

All private and public cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbariums in the country will be closed from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4 to prevent the spread of Covid-19 during the observance of the Undas season, Malacañang announced yesterday.

In a news conference, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) ratified the decision in its Resolution No. 72.

Roque noted that the public could visit these places before or after the scheduled closure of the cemeteries with a maximum venue capacity of 30 percent. They will be allowed to enter from Sept. 17 to Oct. 28, and from Nov. 5 to Nov. 15.

The wearing of face masks and face shields and the observance of physical distancing will be required.

Age restrictions shall not apply to visitors in cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbariums.

In Negros Oriental, masses and other rites, such as the blessing of the graves at the cemeteries and other similar resting places for the deceased that are run by the Catholic Church will be held on days before and after Undas.

Msgr. Julius Perpetuo Heruela, vice-chair of the Commission on Worship of the Diocese of Dumaguete, said yesterday that, in response to the announcement from the Palace, they have suggested to the different parish priests alternative ways of celebrating All Souls’ Day this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Heruela said they are asking the parish priests to say masses for the dead (requiem) and the blessing of the graves/columbariums, with the help of lay ministers, every Monday during the entire month of October and two Mondays in November, outside of the ban period.

The families can also offer novenas and recite the rosary for their deceased loved ones and friends and other prayers for the eternal repose of the souls in purgatory, he said.*JFP/PNA

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