JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Just ahead of Mother’s Day, the R.I. Department of Health sent a memo to all long-term care facilities and nursing homes to encourage resident outings and visitation this weekend.
After last year’s Mother’s Day, when visitations and outings were restricted because of the pandemic, the news is a welcome change for those wanting to spend quality time with their families.
Excited is an understatement for Anna Amalfitano, an 88-year-old resident at Cherry Hill Manor.
“I am so happy, I can’t tell you how happy I am,” she said. “This year is a breakthrough for us and better things are coming our way.”
Being able to go visit her children and grandchildren at their home is the best Mother’s Day gift Amalfitano said she could have asked for.
“I’ve been wanting to go home so bad to see my family,” she said.
A spokesperson for the R.I. Department of Health said outings have always been allowed, even during the height of the pandemic, but were strongly discouraged with strict quarantine requirements for when they returned.
Now, unless there was a close contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19, residents are not required to quarantine, although masking is still strongly encouraged.
Executive Director of Cherry Hill Manor in Johnston Katie Gerber said many residents have outings planned for this weekend.
“They are just excited to be going out to see family members to be in a different environment, be it at a family members home or a restaurant,” Gerber said.
The Health Department said they are ready to take regulatory action to make sure outings and visitation are being allowed at all long term care facilities.