Outdoor care home visits are being allowed from today in Scottish care homes as part of a phased lifting of restrictions by the government.
The relaxation of guidelines applies to care homes that have been COVID-free throughout the pandemic or where all affected residents have fully recovered and have had no symptoms for 28 days.
Outside meetings with a single nominated visitor using face coverings are being allowed under the new guidance, which will build up to a fourth and final phase of reintroduction, including controlled indoor visits and wider use of communal areas by residents.
Areas of Dumfries and Galloway that have been affected by a recent coronavirus outbreak are excluded from the measures.
Announcing the new guidance last week, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, said: “I fully appreciate that the necessary restrictions placed on care homes have been challenging for the people living in care homes, their loved ones, and the staff. Care homes are first and foremost people’s homes, and it is now important that we find safe ways for residents to reconnect with their families and friends.
“Significant progress is being made and we are continuing to see improvements with fewer care homes currently having an infection. On that basis, we can now see a phased return to visiting in care homes when and where it is clinically safe to do so.”
CHP has learnt, meanwhile, that government guidance is being prepared to facilitate safe care home visits in England.
A DHSC spokesperson told us: “We know that limitations on care homes visits are extremely difficult for many families and residents who want to see their loved ones, and we will ensure they are lifted as soon as it’s safe to do so.”