Province: long-term care residents can now accept visitors

TORONTO — For the first time in months, long-term care residents can accept friends and family members for outdoor visits.

The province announced the change, effective May 22, “in response to improvements in key public health care indicators.”

“Our government puts the safety and well-being of long-term care residents at the heart of everything we do,” stated Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care in a May 21 press release.

“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.”

The new rules effective May 22 include:

  • long-term care residents can have a maximum of two general visitors each, in addition to two essential caregiver(s);
  • children under the age of two do not count towards the general visitor maximum;
  • visitors must be actively screened upon arrival and should not proceed beyond entry points/areas in homes;
  • visitors do not need to undergo a rapid antigen test as their visit will be outdoors;
  • visitors need to maintain physical distancing and wear masks and every effort should be made to ensure different groups of visitors are also physically distanced; and
  • homes should leverage nearby amenities such as local parks or parkettes to enable family and friends to visit their loved ones.