HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Those with loved ones residing in nursing homes in Alabama will now have the opportunity to visit them indoors.
Governor Kay Ivey announced the new rule Tuesday as part of an update on COVID-19 measures. The rule, which goes into effect Friday, comes six months after nursing homes were put into lockdown.
“If you’re coming to visit your loved one you’ll have to go through a health screening, you may have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, or take a point of care test at the nursing home,” said Alabama Nursing Home Association spokesman, John Matson.
Residents will be allowed one caregiver or visitor at a time, but social distancing and masks will be required. In addition, nursing homes must be free of any new COVID-19 cases for 14 days before visitors are admitted.
“I understand why the change was made. I think each nursing home is going to have to make sure they follow really strict protocol, and then if there’s an outbreak in a nursing home they’re going to have to close it down,” said Huntsville Hospital CEO, David Spillers.
Nursing homes are encouraging anyone planning to visit their loved ones to call ahead and book a reservation, because capacity at facilities will be limited.