The New York Health Department on Tuesday relaxed nursing home restrictions for visitors amid protests from family members and industry groups.
The new guidelines, which go into effect this Thursday, will allow visitors into nursing homes that have been COVID-19 free for 14 days.
The state halted most visits at care homes March 13 and started allowing visits at homes and assisted living facilities without a COVID-19 case among residents or staffers for 28 days.
"We understand how trying it has been for New Yorkers to not see their loved ones and the challenges they've had to endure during this unprecedented pandemic," State Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said in a statement.
"The number of nursing homes that have taken the necessary steps to protect residents from the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 while working to reopen to outside visitors, shows that adhering to the DOH visitation guideline is the smart and cautious approach to allowing visitations. We continue to be guided by science and concern for residents' welfare and will monitor nursing homes that host visitors, to make sure this action does not lead to an increase in cases."
Visits will be limited to outdoor areas with weather permitting and no more than 10 people in an inside well-ventilated space.
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