In a few days, we Filipinos will commemorate an event that remembers all our dearly departed – a national event that brings everyone back to the motherland to visit both the living and the dead. It’s a time for families, reconciliation, forgiveness and ironically, a celebration of life. However, this year, we may all have to remember all our family members who have passed from a distance.

Recently, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año announced that all cemeteries will be closed from October 29 to November 2 to prevent COVID-19 infection.  In a report to President Rodrigo Duterte, Año mentioned the intraagency coronavirus task force ordered the closure of “all private or public cemeteries and memorial parks, including columbariums” across the country on the abovementioned dates. People who would like to visit their deceased loved ones after the dates may do so but there will be a strict 30% capacity only that will be allowed in these memorial locations.

Aside from the strict control in number, the task force strongly urges people to wear face coverings and observe social distancing while they visit. This is due to the current standing numbers of more than 2.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases including 41,000 recorded deaths due to the fatal disease.

The move to cancel this yearly tradition not only emphasizes the observance of these preventative measures but more importantly to prevent the growing infection rate which will surely happen because of the yearly number of people visiting the cemeteries which may count to thousands of people. Violators will be slapped a 1,500.00 Php fine.

It’s time to bring out those candles outside your balcony and zoom your way through this holiday for the souls as you reminisce with loved ones across the seas.

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