After two years of being closed by government because of the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, cemeteries all over the country have finally been opened to the public, allowing Filipinos to partake of their tradition of visiting loved ones that have passed on into the afterlife during this particular time of the year.
The pandemic is not yet over, but cemeteries are open for All Saints and All Souls day and face mask mandates have been loosened. As we brave the crowds at cemeteries or elsewhere throughout this four-day weekend, let us keep the coronavirus in mind and remember to prioritize our safety and that of our loved ones. Whenever indoors or in crowded places, face masking and social distancing remain our most effective defenses against COVID-19, which the Department of Health expects cases to possibly rise if indoor masking is made optional.
Aside from maintaining our defenses against the coronavirus, which we have practiced faithfully for more than two years now, we will also have to remind ourselves of the precautions we normally take when leaving our homes during the Undas, because the bad elements of our society are still around to take advantage of the usually empty homes during these days.
Before leaving for the cemetery or any vacation destination, make sure all doors and windows are locked. Coordinate with neighbors if possible. Leave random lights on so it’s not obvious that the house is empty and becomes a target. Those that haven’t yet should seriously consider installing CCTV systems.
Additionally, to ensure that homes are safe from accidents while away, unattended appliances that could overheat, such as electric fans should be switched off or unplugged and the cooking gas should be shut off before leaving the residence for an extended period.
Our mantra for this long weekend should remain the same as it has been for the past two years: It is better to be safe than sorry. The only difference that while our primary concern then was COVID, and now that the world is opening up, there are additional safety issues that we need to keep in mind.*