Undas

Gov’t orders nationwide closure of cemeteries from October 29 to November 4

Pia Ranada
Filipinos, including the elderly and children, will be allowed to physically visit the graves of their loved ones before and after Undas week

The government has ordered the closure of all cemeteries, columbariums, and memorial parks from October 29 to November 4, or the week of Undas (All Souls’ Day).

The Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) ratified this decision in its Resolution No. 72 signed on Wednesday, September 17, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a virtual press briefing on Friday, September 18.

Millions of Filipinos usually swarm cemeteries and memorial parks during All Souls’ Day or the days around it. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, the government saw it fit to restrict this activity.

Filipinos can still physically visit the graves of their departed loved ones – just not on the Undas week itself.

The IATF-EID decided to allow a limited number of cemetery visitors during the weeks before and after Undas week. A certain number of visitors will be allowed from September 17 to October 28, and from November 5 to November 15.

“Because cemeteries will close for one week, the number of people who can visit those who passed away will be limited to 30% venue capacity. Face masks, face shields, and social distancing will be required,” said Roque in Filipino.

The government will also allow even the elderly and children to enter cemeteries and memorial parks during those two periods, as long as they fit within the 30% limit of the venue. 

“For the 30% I mentioned, the age restrictions will not apply. We know that the seniors and children will really want to pay tribute to their departed loved ones,” said Roque.

Some local governments, including those in Metro Manila, had earlier announced the closure of cemeteries on Undas week. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.