Restrictions in Ontario long-term care homes loosened as vaccination rates rise

Alicia Tamayo, left, 95, waves to her daughter Betty Fernandez from her window at the Eatonville Care Centre where multiple deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in Toronto on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Ontario says it is loosening pandemic restrictions placed on long-term care homes as vaccination rates rise.

The new rules will now mean homes can safely resume communal dining, indoor events and gatherings.

The directive also allows residents and their caregivers who are fully immunized to have physical contact, like hugging.

The province says once the current stay-at-home order is lifted, it will issue further direction that allows social and temporary outings for fully vaccinated residents.

The government says all residents are currently allowed to leave a nursing home for medical or compassionate absences.

Last week, the province said approximately 94 per cent of long-term care residents were fully vaccinated and 84 per cent of staff had received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 shot.