The Quezon City government has clarified that while all cemeteries in the city are open, rules are in place for those who intend to visit their departed loved ones, to prevent risk of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) transmission.
Mayor Joy Belmonte, in a guideline dated September 21, said these rules have to be complied with by all cemeteries and the public.
Following the order of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, all private and public cemeteries, memorial parks and columbaria all over the country will be closed from October 29 to Nov. 4, 2020, in time for the Undas.
The QC guideline states that on the said dates, cemeteries and columbaria in QC will be open only “for interment, and only as necessary and as scheduled in advance”.
Outside of the said dates, cemeteries in the city may remain open and receive visitors at all days of the week, from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
However, Belmonte said persons visiting cemeteries or columbaria must comply with the minimum health safety requirements such as the use of face mask, observance of safe physical distancing of at least two meters distance from each other, and that visitors are also required to log in their names, address and contact number for contact tracing purposes.
In addition, “a quarantine pass, APOR (authorized person outside of residence) ID or its equivalent will be required for visitors”.
In compliance with the IATF order of 30-percent maximum capacity in all cemeteries and memorial parks, the city government enforces a limit on the number of visitors within the premises at any one time.
“In case maximum capacity is reached at any time, the establishment shall be responsible to ensure that persons waiting outside do not crowd together or violate physical distancing limits,” the guideline states.
For city-operated cemeteries, the maximum number for the Bagbag Cemetery is at 1,500 visitors at a time while the Novaliches Cemetery is at 500 visitors.
“The Baesa Cemetery shall remain completely closed to visitors since it has been closed since the year 2012, and to ensure unhampered operation of the crematory,” Belmonte said.
Meanwhile, vendors selling flower, food, candle and other traditional microenterprises in relation to the “Undas” season shall be allowed outside the cemeteries and columbaria, subject to health protocols.
“No vendors shall be allowed inside the cemeteries or columbaria,” according to the guidelines
Belmonte has also ordered the Quezon City Police District, the Department of Public Order and Safety, the Market Development and Administration Department and the respective barangay governments to monitor the cemeteries and columbaria concerned and ensure the enforcement of the guidelines.
It added that “violators may be charged under applicable laws and ordinances”. (PNA)