Warning signs and information about COVID-19 along with a hand sanitizing station is shown inside the doors of the Hillsdale Terraces Long-Term Care home in Oshawa, Ont., on Sunday, April 5, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Doug Ives)

Ontario is allowing residents in group homes to leave for short absences and overnight stays.

The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services says the resumption of outings is important to maintain the social and emotional well-being of people living in congregate settings.

The easement of the rules is similar to those released last week for residents of long-term care homes.

The ministry says residents who want to visit friends or family will be screened for COVID-19 exposure when they return, follow proper hand hygiene while gone and wear face masks when inside or when within two metres of others.

The province says those leaving for an overnight stay will have enhanced precautions in place for 14 days upon return.

The ministry says the new rules came into effect on Friday.

This article by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 31, 2020.