Getting close to an elderly loved one living in a long-term care home just got a little easier.

The province is going to allow fully immunized residents to leave the homes for day and overnight trips. If a resident has mobility issues and cannot go outside to visit loved ones they will be allowed to have one visitor at a time inside the home as well as an essential caregiver.

Perhaps the news that everyone with a family member inside a home has been waiting to hear, brief hugs no matter what the visitor or resident’s vaccination status are allowed. If both the resident and visitor are fully immunized close physical contact, including handholding will be allowed.

The changes will be in effect on Wednesday, June 9th.

Minister of Long-Term Care Dr. Merrilee Fullerton says the change is possible because of high levels of vaccinations in long-term care homes and improvements in key public health indicators, “Our government puts the safety and well-being of long-term care residents at the heart of everything we do. Thanks to high immunization levels, residents and their families can resume more of the activities that contribute to their quality of life.”

According to the province, at the end of May, 97-percent of long-term care residents and 66-percent of staff have been fully immunized.