DeSantis expands visitation at nursing homes, assisted living facilities in time for Thanksgiving

Gov. Ron DeSantis, like his political ally Trump, has emphasized a need to reopen the state and return a sense of normalcy during the pandemic.

As part of that, DeSantis this week announced plans to expand visitation at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. For example, the state will allow outdoor visitation, regardless of whether the facilities have COVID-19 infections.

Florida barred visitors to nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the spring to try to prevent spread of the deadly virus. But the DeSantis administration on Sept. 1 issued an executive order authorizing visitation to resume and providing broad guidelines that nursing facilities were required to follow. The announcement this week will change the guidelines to allow expanded visitation.

During an appearance Thursday in Fort Myers, DeSantis reiterated his view that it is important for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have visits from family members.

“I think the families have just universally been very, very happy with being able to be reunited with their loved ones,” DeSantis said. “And I hear people say, 'Oh, well, you know, you shouldn’t have Thanksgiving this year.’ … And I'm just thinking to myself, you know, shouldn’t individuals be in the position to be able to make those determinations? And if a family is in a situation where they are behaving in a safe way and the facilities are doing what they need to do, we need to be able to have family connections. This is very, very important.”

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