After being closed to the public for nearly a month except for visitation by lot and grave owners between 2 and 4 pm, Forest Hills Cemetery is expected to reopen gates to the public once again.
According to a message from May 15 on the cemetery’s website, “the re-opening date will be determined with guidance from Governor Baker.” Additionally, dog walking, bicycling, and jogging are “no longer permitted” in the cemetery. “We require all visitors to be respectful of our primary purpose which is to bury the dead and to provide a peaceful and tranquil setting for their families and friends,” the announcement continues.
“We realize that this is a substantial change in policy and thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.” It also said that social distancing and masks are required to enter the cemetery, and anyone who does not follow the rules will be asked to leave.
City Councilor Matt O’Malley said that he spoke with Forest Hills Cemetery president George H. Milley, III and “urged him to come up with some accommodations” to allow for more activity to be allowed in the cemetery.
O’Malley said that while he appreciates the fact that there would be some type of reopening to the space, “I encouraged him to go a little bit father in terms of allowing certain active recreation and dog walking,” he said. “There could be a balance that’s met here that will work for the cemetery and the neighbors as well.”
He said that he is “sensitive to the concerns raised by the administration of the cemetery,” and will continue to urge them to allow further public use of the space.
“This is a unique park and cemetery,” O’Malley said. “It’s been very much part of a community resource.” He said that it’s more important than ever right now to be able to have access to open space for exercise and fresh air.
“I’m looking forward to working with them,” he said. So far, no official opening date has been posted on the website or any social media about when these new rules would go into effect.