AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced Thursday that it will allow limited visitation at nursing homes and long-term facilities with strict guidelines.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, visitation at these types of facilities was not allowed in order to mitigate any spread, especially in residents who are in the high-risk category of contracting the virus.

“Access to family and loved ones is an important part of every resident’s health and well-being, which is why this policy shift is a move in the right direction for some of our most fragile Texans,” said Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (SD-18), Chair, Senate Committee on Health and Human Services.

The guidelines required will depend on the type of facility that will be visited.

At nursing homes, visitation can only take place outdoors and physical contact will not be permitted. Other conditions include:

  • No confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in staff in the last 14 days.
  • No active positive cases in residents.
  • Any facility previously experiencing an outbreak that has fully recovered must be adequately staffed and following adequate infection control procedures.
  • Facility staff are being tested for COVID-19 weekly.

At long-term care facilities, limited indoor and outdoor visitation will be allowed. Physical contact will not be permitted. Other conditions include:

  • No confirmed COVID-19 positive staff in last 14 days.
  • No active positive cases in residents.
  • Adequate staffing to facilitate visitation in compliance with infection control requirements.
  • Use of plexiglass as a safety barrier for indoor visitation to prevent spread of COVID-19.

“Today’s announcement is a critical first step for every person in a long-term care facility and their loved ones,” said Rep. James Frank (HD-69), Chair, Texas House Committee on Human Services. “This decision underscores that state leaders recognize the need to balance the emotional and physical health impacts of isolation against the serious dangers that COVID poses to these vulnerable Texans.”