NEA Advises Visitors To Choa Chu Kang Cemetery To Plan Visits As Not All Grass Has Been Cut

During the ‘Circuit Breaker’ and Phase 1, cemeteries and columbaria were closed to visitors, so many were unable to visit their deceased loved ones, not even for Qing Ming or Hari Raya.

With the long-awaited news that Singapore will be going into Phase 2 on Friday (19 Jun), it has also been announced that Choa Chu Kang Cemetery and all government-managed columbaria will be reopening.

So visitors will be able to visit their loved ones’ graves or niches — but subject to safe distancing rules.

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CCK cemetery, 3 columbaria to be open

In a Facebook post on Tuesday (16 Jun), Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said Choa Chu Kang Cemetery, Choa Chu Kang Columbarium, Mandai Columbarium and Yishun Columbarium will be open for visitors in Phase 2.

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He also acknowledged that being able to visit the graves and niches of our loved ones is important for all communities.

This practice is enshrined in the traditions of many religions and cultures.

Don’t forget safe distancing measures

However, while visiting our loved ones, we shouldn’t forget that the virus still exists, and ignore the existing safe distancing measures.

For example, like with all public places in Singapore, do wear masks at all times, keep a distance of 1m from other people, and avoid crowds.

Avoiding crowds also means that groups shouldn’t stay for too long, and try not to bring along the elderly and young children.

Also, don’t forget the “rule of 5”, meaning don’t gather in groups of more than 5, even for families.

As always, personal hygiene is important, and stay at home if you feel unwell.

Limit of 20 for cremations, burial services & funeral wakes

Besides the usual safe distancing rules that apply across Singapore, though, there are some additional rules for cremations, burial services and funeral wakes

Not more than 20 people will be allowed at these events, an increase from the limit of 10 people set previously.

Also, the 1m safe distancing rule still applies.

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Wear protective footwear in CCK cemetery

At Choa Chu Kang Cemetery, maintenance of the grass at common areas didn’t proceed as regularly as usual during the ‘Circuit Breaker’ period, according to a media release from the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Tuesday (16 Jun).

This was due to a lack of manpower to carry out these duties.

Thus, not all the burial plots will have had their grass cut when Phase 2 starts, and the long grass might hide existing potholes, cracks and uneven or rough surfaces on pathways or terrain.

Thus, Mr Masagos advised visitors to wear protective footwear when visiting the cemetery.

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The NEA additionally advised visitors to use insect repellent, and said it will put up signs to warn visitors when they visit burial plots whose grass hasn’t yet been cut.

Plan your visit according to grass-cutting schedule

While the grass cutting has been carried out at a faster pace since 2 Jun, there’s still a significant portion of the burial blocks that have not been maintained yet.

The NEA has therefore advised visitors to plan their visits for after their loved ones’ plots have been maintained.

As a guide, the NEA also provided a map showing when the grass of each burial plot will be cut, so do take note of when your loved ones’ graves will be ready and, if you can, plan your visit accordingly.

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Let’s be responsible when visiting

While it’s understandable that people might be eager to pay respects to their loved ones now that we can do it, it’s advisable not to rush, or stagger your visits, so as not to crowd the area.

And do be understanding if the cemetery isn’t as well-maintained as before due to manpower constraints.

Let’s be responsible, and perhaps we might even more to Phase 3 sooner than expected.

Featured image adapted from Facebook.