Long-term care residents allowed 10 visitors outdoors as Ontario eases restrictions

Long-term care residents will be allowed to have 10 visitors outdoors as Ontario announced plans to ease restrictions at long-term care homes.

The loosened restrictions, announced by new Minister of Long-term Care Rod Phillips, will take effect on July 7.

Residents will also be allowed to have up to two caregivers and two general visitors indoors at the same time. The limit on number of people designated as caregivers has been removed.

Fully immunized visitors will be able to have close physical contact while those who are not must social distance, apart from a brief contact. All visitors will still be required to wear masks.

Within the long-term care homes, personal care services will be allowed and resident cohorting can be eased for outdoor activities.

The province says as of June 28, virtually all residents are fully immunized against COVID-19 and 92 per cent of staff have received at least one dose. Around 84 per cent have both doses of the vaccine.

The ministry also updated its vaccination policy for employees. Any staff, student placements and volunteers will be required to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or provide a documented medical reason for not being vaccinated.

If they don’t provide either of the two above, they must participate in an educational program about the benefits of being vaccinated and risks of not being vaccinated.

This will be effective July 1, 2021.

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