Restrictions on visiting seniors in long-term care homes and assisted living will be lifted as of July 19, though staff and visitors who have not been vaccinated will still need to wear masks and follow other public health guidelines.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Bonnie Henry Thursday announced a series of restrictions that will come off on July 19.
Seniors homes were among the first to have strict prohibitions imposed at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, since that’s where COVID-19 infection outbreaks were most concentrated and most deadly.
Early in the pandemic, people were not allowed to visit loved ones in care homes. Those restrictions were loosened a bit in June 2020, but many restrictions remained in place. There were, for example, limits on the number of visitors that a resident could have and visits had to be scheduled.
With 78% of British Columbians now vaccinated and 40% fully vaccinated, restrictions can now be relaxed, Dix said.
As of July 19, visitors will no longer have to schedule visits, and limits on the number of visitors a resident can have will be removed. Visitors will no longer need to wear masks, as long as they are fully vaccinated. Seniors day programs will also resume.
All staff in care homes and assisted living will have to be fully vaccinated, or they will need to continue to wear masks and will need to be tested three times a week for COVID-19.
A freeze that prevented long-term care home workers from working at more than one facility will be lifted in some cases to allow for workers to take vacations, and allow workers at other facilities to fill in for them.
More to come.