Articles

Beth Tzedec Memorial Park: COVID-19 Pandemic Protocols
Beth Tzedec
May 7th 2020

The past two months have been most trying for our community. The moment that emergency measures were announced, we closed our cemetery for visitation, opening only to perform burials. Our priority has and continues to be to perform the sacred duties of burial with the utmost dignity and respect. We recognize how difficult the closure has been for those who have lost loved ones.

Our responsibility to our staff and the public is to ensure your safety and guard against the compounding of a tragic situation. We have asked families to work with us to ensure physical distancing while on the grounds and we thank the members of our BT family for their compliance with provincial laws.

Beth Tzedec is part of a group of Jewish cemeteries in Toronto. We meet regularly and consult with those who manage non-Jewish cemeteries for matters of public safety and operations management. With input from local government, physicians and public health authorities, working with funeral homes and rabbinic leadership, we have established protocols for the safe operation of our grounds.

Mother’s Day – Cemetery Grounds Will Remain Closed

Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for our cemetery. While we would like nothing more than to open and allow visitations, this would be simply irresponsible. As one of our local councilors commented, "in the face of this unprecedented public health crisis, it is much better to be too safe than not safe enough". However, while the grounds will remain closed, we have been working on plans to relax some of the restrictions and allow visitations to begin in the near future. 

Transitional Planning

Commencing Sunday, May 17, 2020, Beth Tzedec Memorial Park will be open for visitation only, for limited hours, as follows:

  • Monday to Thursday: 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Friday: Closed
  • Sunday: 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

No monument unveiling services will be held during the limited visitation hours.

We are closed on all Saturdays for Shabbat and also closed on religious holy days such as Shavuot (May 29 and 30).

At all other times, entry to the grounds will not be permitted.

Beth Tzedec Memorial Park reserves the right to amend or cancel visiting hours or close the grounds in the event of a burial.

For our mutual protection, please note the following:

  • Cemetery staff will not be available to meet with the public.
  • For inquires prior to or following your visit, please call 416-665-3036.
  • Our office, chapel and washrooms will not be open to the public.
  • No hand washing stations will be available.
  • During these limited visiting hours, there may be security personnel to help manage our visitors, keep order and monitor the cemetery grounds. 

To help ensure that we can remain open, prior to visiting the cemetery, please carefully review these important questions:

  1. Do you exhibit at least two of any of these symptoms of COVID-19, such as having a sore throat, a hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing, decrease or loss of taste or smell, chills, headaches, unexplained fatigue or malaise, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, runny nose or sneezing with an unknown cause, or nasal congestion with an unknown cause?
  2. Over the last 14 days, have you been in close contact with someone who was confirmed to have COVID-19 or is suspected to have died from COVID-19?
  3. Are you over 65 years of age and experiencing any of the following: delirium, falls, acute functional decline or worsening of chronic conditions?
  4. Based on public health recommendations, should you be in quarantine or self-isolating?
  5. Have you tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 21 days, even if you do not have any symptoms?

If you answered ‘YES’ to ANY of the above questions, please DO NOT visit the cemetery.

If you answered ‘NO’ to ALL of the above questions, you may enter the grounds during the limited visitation hours.

At all times, the please observe the following:

  1. Maintain physical distancing of at least six feet between people at all times;
  2. Wear a face mask or face shield (strongly recommended) at all times;
  3. Do not gather in a group which exceeds the current legal maximum of five people;
  4. Provincial laws must be followed at all times while on the cemetery grounds;
  5. If there are violations of these laws by any visitors, you may asked to immediately leave the grounds.

Please visit our website https://www.beth-tzedec.org or call the Beth Tzedec Memorial Park office for further updates about our limited visiting hours and operations. You may call the cemetery office at 416-665-3036 for regular updates on our operations.

We thank you for your co-operation and understanding during these very difficult times.