LONDON, ONT. -- It is a tradition in the Greek Orthodox community, that on Easter Sunday, people visit the grave site of loved ones who have passed.

But this year that wasn’t allowed at one local cemetery.

Woodland cemetery, which is owned by St. Paul’s Cathedral, closed its doors last Monday after a high volume of people showed up to pay their respects last Easter Sunday. 

The Very Reverend, Paul Millward, Dean at St. Paul’s Cathedral says he was trying to prevent the spread of covid-19, especially wanting to protect staff members who are considered an essential-service. 

"The crematorium operators and our funeral directors, if they were to contract the coronavirus it could be catastrophic. We wouldn’t be able to function or serve the community the way we need to."

Giuliana Strano, granddaughter of late Angelo Stavrou, a beloved local who was the owner at, Merle Mae ice cream, says cemetery visitation is necessary for healing. 

"A cemetery is a way for someone to deal with their grief head on and it’s a therapeutic place. I believe it helps the mental well-being of those who lost someone," says Strano.

Strano advises the St. Paul cathedral to implement accommodations instead of closing the cemetery down all together. 

The Very Reverend, Millward, after speaking with the board, has decided to open the gates to the public after hours and after staff have finished work for the day.

Millward says hours will look something like, 5:15 p.m - 8:15 p.m.

The gate is currently unlocked.