Visits to long-term care and other homes to resume June 18

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Thursday, June 11, that visits to long-term care homes would be allowed to resume starting Thursday, June 18, but on a “cautious” basis, along with retirement homes and “congregate living” facilities for children, persons with developmental disabilities and those sheltering from gender-based violence.

The province restricted such homes to only “essential” visitors, such as those delivering food and other supplies, in March.

“We’ve been able to keep the vast majority of homes outbreak-free,” Premier Ford said. “This decision, hard as it was to make, was the right decision.

“We need families to be able to see their loved ones,” so visits could resume on June 18, as long as the home involved wasn’t in a COVID-19 outbreak.

Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton said to prevent infection getting into those homes, residents would be limited to one visitor per week, and only in an outdoor setting.

Indoor or outdoor visits could be conducted at retirement homes, she said, with the maximum number of visitors being left to home management to decide.

In either case, she said, visitors must have had a negative medical test for COVID-19 within the last 14 days, pass a screening questionnaire, wash hands with soap and water on arrival and departure, wear a mask and stay in designated areas.

Children, Community and Social Services Minister Todd Smith said that those residing in homes for persons with developmental disabilities, in shelters for victims of gender-based violence and in children’s residences must also have tested negative with the last two weeks, submit to a temperature check on arrival, wear masks and conduct visits only outdoors.