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Joy for families as care home residents are allowed two indoor visitors for first time in months

A gran day out! Joy for families as care home residents are allowed two indoor visitors for the first time in 13 months under lockdown-easing rules

  • Care home residents can welcome two named friends or relatives from today
  • Visitors must be tested before visits and physical contact to be kept to minimum
  • Babies and very small children can also visit in addition to the two named visitors
  • It comes as lockdown restrictions continue to ease with shops, salons and gyms reopening today while pubs, bars and restaurants can serve customers outdoors

Care home residents are able to welcome two visitors from today as the latest easing of lockdown restrictions come into effect.

Visitors will be tested prior to seeing loved ones, will have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and will be asked to keep physical contact to a minimum.

Residents can nominate two named friends of relatives who can visit them at their care homes regularly and can visit together or separately as they wish.

The new national guidance also permits babies and very young children to visit in addition to the two named visitors.

Residents with the highest care needs can receive more frequent visits from a loved one who will provide essential care and support. 

According to Government guidance, care homes can also continue to offer visits to other friends or family members through arrangements such as outdoor visiting, rooms with substantial screens, visiting pods, or from behind windows.

It comes as the country enters the second stage of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown as a wave of restrictions are lifted from today. 

In other Covid news today: 

  • Shops, gyms, hairdressers and beauty salons can all open today for the first time since the latest lockdown began at the start of this year;
  • Pub goers were pictured sharing a pint just minutes after midnight last night to toast the lifting of lockdown restrictions which comes into effect today; 
  • Earlier today, pictures showed sprawling queues of shoppers outside popular retail outlets as well as gyms and hairdressers ahead of their reopening today; 
  • Fights and disorder broke out at shops across the country including Oxford Street in London and the Arndale Centre in Manchester;
  • People in their 40s will be invited for Covid jabs from tomorrow after the Government hit its target on vaccinations for priority groups; 
  • Officers apologised to churchgoers after shutting down their Good Friday service for breaking Covid lockdown rules;
  • Students’ university comeback was delayed until mid-May amid fears mass return to lecture halls could spark a huge spike in Covid cases.

Care home residents are able to welcome two named visitors from today as Government’s lockdown restrictions continue to ease across the UK. Pictured: Sylvia Newsom and her daughter Kay Fossett pictured during a visit in London when restrictions first eased last month

Shops, gyms, hairdressers and beauty salons can all open today for the first time since the latest lockdown began at the start of this year.

Pubs, cafes, bars and restaurants are able to open but are only permitted to serve customers food and drink outdoors.

Care homes were allowed to welcome one visitor at a time from March 8 when the first lockdown restrictions began to ease.

In care homes where there are coronavirus outbreaks, nominated visitors will not be able to come into the care home.

It has been more than a year since care home visits were first halted with residents forced to interact with their loved ones through windows. Pictured: 95-year-old Second World War veteran Signalman Eric Bradshaw,on VE day last year at Anchor's Millfield home in Oldham

It has been more than a year since care home visits were first halted with residents forced to interact with their loved ones through windows. Pictured: 95-year-old Second World War veteran Signalman Eric Bradshaw,on VE day last year at Anchor’s Millfield home in Oldham

It is just over a year since some care homes first closed their doors, several weeks ahead of the first lockdown on March 23.

Over this time, visiting guidance has changed several times and visiting opportunities have varied across the country, with some areas in local lockdowns.

Some indoor visits resumed in December as rapid-result tests were rolled out to care homes, but this was not permitted during the current lockdown.

The latest relaxation of visiting rules has been welcomed by care homes, charities and campaigners.

Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group said: ‘Big day today as care and nursing home residents can see two visitors plus the little ones! A great step forward but we must also stay safe.’ 

Gavin Terry, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Society said: ‘It’s so reassuring for families affected by dementia to know that from today, two named visitors will be able to have meaningful face-to-face contact with their loved one in a care home, and that provision can be made for ‘essential carers’ where there may be a need for family members to provide more personal, close contact care.

‘As 70 per cent of people in care homes have dementia, these long-awaited visits come as the light at the end of the tunnel after a lonely, isolated year.

‘As visits take place, it’ll be important that each residents’ individual needs are met, and care homes facilitate visits on a case-by-case basis.

‘As the vaccine continues to roll out across the nation, and infection rates slowly decrease, we’re hopeful that we’ll soon get to a place where family members will no longer need to decide who gets to visit.

‘In the meantime, safety of residents and staff is of utmost priority, and we cannot afford to be complacent given the destruction and pain this pandemic has caused so many heartbroken families.’

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