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On March 13, 2020, visits were restricted in long term care homes and other residential care settings to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The Provincial Government, in two documents entitled “Resuming Visits in Long-Term Care Homes” and “Update to Visits at Long-Term Care Homes” has recently announced that Ontarians may return to visit their loved ones in long term care homes, under certain conditions and depending on the current situation at the home.

Outdoor Visits

As of July 15, 2020, up to two visitors will be permitted at one time for outdoor visits. Masks must be supplied and worn by visitors.

Indoor Visits

As of July 22, 2020, up to two visitors will be permitted at one time for indoor visits. Masks must always be worn. Visitors must also verbally confirm that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the last 2 weeks and subsequently not tested positive.

Additional Conditions

The following additional conditions must be met for visits:

  • The home must not be in outbreak.
  • All visitors must pass a screening each time they are on the premises, including confirming that they are not experiencing symptoms, both typical and atypical, of COVID-19.
  • Visitors must follow the home’s infection prevention and control (IPAC) protocols, including proper use of face coverings or surgical/procedural masks.
  • Visitors must remain in the designated visitor area (indoor/outdoor area or suite) with the resident that they are visiting.
  • Visitors must always maintain physical distancing and practice good hand hygiene.

Refusal to follow these rules may be the basis for no longer allowing visits.

Other Residential Care Settings

Retirement homes, group homes, and other residential care settings may have different conditions that must be met than those at long term care homes.

The Ontario Government has advised that as the pandemic situation evolves, directions regarding visits at long-term care homes will be adjusted as necessary, keeping the safety and emotional well-being of residents and staff at the forefront.

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