Cemeteries, memorial parks and columbaries all over the country will be closed on October 30 to November 2 as a measure to prevent potential super spreader events on this year’s All Saint’s Day long weekend, when Filipinos traditionally visit the final resting places of their beloved dead.
The public is asked to cooperate with the authorities tasked with keeping everyone safe from COVID-19, especially as the country still continues to struggle to control the spread of the highly infectious disease. This is already the second year that cemeteries have been closed for Undas so our patience, cooperation and understanding is once more needed in this country where the government’s pandemic response has so far been unable to restore normal life.
The cemeteries may be temporarily closed during the long Undas weekend but for those whose sense of tradition and duty to the dead cannot be ignored, visiting our dearly departed before and after the closure is perfectly fine. As long as the health and safety protocols that we have been practicing for almost two years are observed, it should be fine, especially since cemeteries are open areas with more than adequate natural ventilation.
If the place gets too crowded for comfort, the presence of authorities can help as they should be able to control the number of people allowed to gather. If it is still uncomfortable, always remember that it is ok to go home and come back at a different time, when conditions are more favorable. These days it is always better to err on the side of caution.
Those who would rather play it safe and stay at home for the second straight year can still light a candle, say prayers, and partake of sticky snacks to remember dearly departed loved ones and family members. If company is preferred, the online meetings or video calls that have become a part of our lives as we find ways to adapt to the pandemic are always available.
Let us cooperate with the authorities once more as we work together to control the spread of the coronavirus so we can finally get our lives back. Our cooperation now will hopefully prevent another surge that will only delay our return to normal life even further. If all goes well, perhaps we can finally be free to partake of our beloved traditions after another year has passed.*