The Ontario government announced a “cautious” restart plan to allow visitors back into the province’s long-term care homes beginning June 18 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Premier Doug Ford made the announcement alongside ministers Christine Elliott, Merrilee Fullerton and Todd Smith at his daily press briefing at Queen’s Park on Thursday.
“Thanks to the hard work of our frontline workers and the collective efforts of everyone in stopping the spread, we can now allow families to reunite with their loved ones safely and in person with strict public health measures to protect residents, visitors and staff,” said Ford.
Fullerton said one visitor will be allowed per resident for one outdoor visit per week at long-term care homes. The visitor must have tested negative for coronavirus in the past two weeks.
For retirement homes, Fullerton said residents will be allowed indoor and outdoor visits. The numbers of visitors will be designated by the facility.
Other care settings will be allowed outdoor visits of two people at a time.
The government said physically distancing will be required at all locations.
Homes must not be experiencing an outbreak, they must have an established protocol for visitors and must “maintain the highest infection prevention and control standards.”
“We know the visitor restrictions have been tough on residents, as families and loved ones play an important role in providing care and emotional support to residents. We are confident these visits can occur safely,” said Fullerton.
“With the possible spread of COVID-19 in our long-term care homes still being a real threat, people will need to follow strict health and safety protocols in order to protect our most vulnerable.”
The Ford government restricted visits to essential personnel only in long-term care homes in March.
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