Care home residents are to be allowed a second regular indoor visitor as of Monday, 12 April, the government has announced.
Under the move, which is part of the easing of COVID restrictions, visitors will be asked to provide a negative test result and wear PPE to keep themselves, staff and residents safe.
As testing capacity increases, the government said some visitors will be able to carry out tests at home rather than care homes to allow more visits to take place.
The new rules permit parents to also bring babies and very young children as they will be not counted as a designated visitor.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) said: “Reuniting family and friends has been a priority each time restrictions have eased, and the next step will be no different.
“I’m particularly pleased to allow residents to have more visitors, including grandchildren, given the isolation and concern felt by so many this past year.
“Thanks to the tireless work of care home staff, and the success of the vaccine rollout, we’re able to increase the number of visits in a safe and controlled way.”
Vida Healthcare’s Gil Chimon, home manager at Vida Grange, said the extension of the number of allowed visitors was an “exciting step” on the “journey back to normality”.
Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, also welcomed the news while highlighting the need to “proceed with care” and follow infection control guidance.
Mike also called for patience from families with their local care homes as the increased visiting and infection control requirements would add to pressure on providers.