Nursing homes reopen to visitors starting July 1

Joplin Area Coronavirus

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, (KNWA/KFTA) — Some Arkansas nursing homes have gotten the green light to reopen with limitations starting tomorrow even though the state has seen a spike in cases.

Starting on July 1, some families will be able to visit loved ones at Arkansas nursing homes.

“The visits will be scheduled and they will have a time limit because facilities will have to sanitize spaces and prepare spaces for the next families to come in to visit,” said Arkansas Health Care Association, Executive Director, Rachel Bunch.

She said communal dining and on-site barber and beauty shops will also reopen at facilities. Restrictions will only be lifted for facilities that are properly staffed, have enough PPE and have no active COVID-19 cases.

“Within the 28 days if they have positive cases in their facilities they are going to have to wait to reach that date without any new cases coming up in that home,” said Bunch.

Governor Asa Hutchinson echoed this at Tuesday’s daily COVID-19 briefing.

Bunch said no more than two visitors per resident will be allowed at a time, they must keep 6 feet of distance from each other and wear a mask.

Nursing homes are also encouraged to hosts visitations outdoors.

“I know places that are setting up rocking chairs on porches, picnic tables, gazebos and other outdoor furniture so families can comfortably visit.”

Justin Randall’s dad is at the Maples Harber Meadows in Springdale but because of its positive cases he will have to wait.

“It’s frustrating because we haven’t seen him since February but I also understand too.”

Bunch said there are a lot of mixed emotions about reopening.

“I’ve heard from some residents who say they really want to see their loved ones and miss them and I’ve heard from others who say they are scared and not sure if we are ready,” said Bunch.

Randall said he is waiting for the day he can visit his father with no restrictions.

“I’m going to give that man a really big hug and tell him how much I love him and tell him how much I’ve really missed him.”

Bunch said some nursing homes are taking more time to prepare and won’t reopen Wednesday. She recommends families to reach out to their facilities for their plans.

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