TORONTO – Friends and family can visit outdoors with Ontario long-term care residents starting on Saturday.
The associate deputy minister of long-term care announced the change in a Friday memo to licensees.
Erin Hannah says the change is being made to align with loosening provincial rules around outdoor activities that take effect at midnight.
Homes are being asked to communicate with communities about how to book visits and about public health measures still in effect, such as masks and physical distancing.
In a statement, Long-Term Care Minister Merilee Fullerton said the Ford government “puts the safety and well-being of long-term care residents at the heart of everything we do.”
“With the excellent uptake of vaccines in long-term care homes, it is the right time to make this very meaningful change that will benefit residents and their families.”
A maximum of two general visitors is allowed per resident at one time, in addition to designated essential caregivers.
Children under the age of two years do not count towards the general visitor maximum and general visitors need to be actively screened upon arrival and should not proceed beyond entry points/areas in homes.
Hannah’s memo says outdoor visits can happen in the vicinity of the home if the facility doesn’t have suitable outdoor space.
“Thank you Premier Doug Ford for listening to RNAO (Registered Nurses Association of Ontario) and opening outside visits for LTC residents,” RNAO said in a tweet.
“This weekend, we’ll see more smiles on residents’ faces as they smell the gardens and resume some of life’s simple pleasures.”