Ontario to allow outdoor visits at long-term care homes starting Saturday

TORONTO — Residents of long-term care homes in Ontario will be able to meet face-to-face with some of their family members starting tomorrow.

In a memo obtained by CP24 and confirmed by the Ministry of Long-Term Care, the move to further loosen restrictions was based on the government’s decision to reopen outdoor recreational amenities as of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 22, 2021.

“To align with these changes, we are expediting the ability for family members and friends to visit their loved ones who live in long-term care homes across the province,” the memo read.

Visitors and residents will need to abide by a few public health restrictions if and when they decide to visit their loved ones.

For example, the number of general visitors will be capped at two at a time per resident, in addition to essential caregivers. Children under the age of two do not count towards the general visitor maximum.

Visitors will be required to subject to a health screening upon arrival and are advised not to enter the facility. A rapid COVID-19 test will not be required.

As well, residents and visitors will both be required to wear masks while also maintaining a safe physical distance.

If a home does not have outdoor space, the government says visits can take place in the general vicinity of the home.

On Thursday, the province unveiled its three-step reopening plan to ease pandemic restrictions, starting with outdoor activities, as the number of new daily COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates continue to decline.

Earlier this month, the government allowed some gatherings and physical contact, such as hugs between residents and their caregivers, to resume as vaccination rates in those facilities climbed higher.

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