Mount Pleasant Cemetery is reopening this week on reduced hours, but will remain closed on Mother’s Day, which is one of the “busiest visitation days,” to ensure large crowds aren’t gather during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A spokesperson for the large cemetery said the decision has been made to reopen the grounds from 5:50 pm to 8 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, closing on Sunday.
But it will reopen again on Monday, May 11, where the cemetery will stay open for seven days a week with Sundays time being, 3:30 pm to 8 pm.
“The decision to remain closed on Mother’s Day was a difficult one and one that the Bereavement Authority of Ontario is recommending all cemeteries in Ontario follow,” spokesperson Rick Cowan told Daily Hive in a statement.
“We know how important Mother’s Day is to the families we serve. It is also the busiest visitation day for our cemeteries, drawing large crowds. As an essential service, it is paramount that we keep funeral and cemetery staff safe and healthy to ensure our facilities can remain operational during this pandemic.”
Cowan added that the pandemic is ongoing, and therefore the cemetery must ensure that everyone is practicing proper physical distancing and taking all necessary safety precautions as “we gradually move towards the pre-COVID-19 norms.”
City Councillor Josh Matlow, who has been an active participant in reopening the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, announced that the grounds would open on Thursday following “productive conversations with the Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries (MGC).”
I’ve had productive conversations with the Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries (MGC). Commencing today, all MGC, including those connected to the Beltline at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, will reopen to the public Mon-Sat 5:30-8PM & Sundays (starting on May 17) 3:30– 8PM. More to come!
— Josh Matlow (@JoshMatlow) May 7, 2020
On April 24, Matlow first wrote about the cemetery, saying he respects the cemetery’s concern with visitors who “weren’t practicing social distancing” but that he was “encouraging” them to consider a “safe and responsible” way to open the gates to “support the public’s physical and mental health.”
While I respect the Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries concern about visitors who weren’t practicing social distancing, I’ve been encouraging them to consider safe and responsible ways to open their gates to support the public’s physical and mental health. Will keep you posted.
— Josh Matlow (@JoshMatlow) April 24, 2020
At the time, Matlow said he requested the Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries to create a plan to “ensure people can, while adhering to social distancing, visit loved ones buried there” and consulted with public health staff who suggested it could be done safely.