NY Nursing Homes Can Lift Covid Restrictions

Howard Bennett, a U.S. Army Air Corps veteran, laughs as he speaks with his son, Steve Bennett, left, visiting for the first time without the use of protective garments. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

New York nursing homes have done away with pandemic restrictions, enabling family and friends to visit their loved ones living in nursing homes regardless of vaccine status, according to new guidance released by the Department of Health.

The guidelines are adopted from the federal Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, which noted that with 86% of residents and 74% of staff are vaccinated, making risk of coronavirus spread significantly lower.

Nursing home will not place restrictions on how many visitors a resident can have or how long they can stay. All guests are expected to maintain mask wearing, physical distancing and disinfection protocols.

Residents can leave for extended travel and would be tested upon his or her return.

“While all residents have a right to visitation, fully open and unrestricted visitation posed a clinical health and safety risk to other residents during this [public health emergency], and therefore, it was reasonable to place limits on visitation,” the guidance said.

“However, at this time, continued restrictions on this vital resident’s right are no longer necessary.”