Coronavirus NY: Cuomo signs law allowing more nursing home visitation during COVID pandemic

Coronavirus Update for New York
NEW YORK (WABC) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a new law that allows more people to visit loved ones in New York nursing homes.

The law lets residents and their families select two or more personal caregivers who are exempt from any visitation bans put in place over the last year.

"The physical and mental decline of our senior community and the suffering from prolonged isolation over the last year has been devastating," said Assemblyman Harry Bronson, who sponsored the bill. "The time lost and the damage done to the well-being of our older New Yorkers and their families cannot be replaced or repaired, but we can hopefully being to heal and prevent further anguish."

The law also expands the definition of "compassionate care visitation" from end of life situations only to include any physical, emotional or mental well-being that requires attention.

Cuomo on Monday signed the bill, which Bronson championed to allow family members to visit loved ones in long term care facilities.

"After months of fighting for this law, nursing home residents will finally be reunited with their families," he said. "Codifying these rights into law will ensure families aren't separated from their loved ones ever again and will prepare our state for future health emergencies."

Only caregivers complying with appropriate safety and screening procedures are allowed to be admitted to nursing homes and adult care facilities.

"I have fought to pass this law as expeditiously as possible, which is why it will be enacted immediately using the March 25 Department of Health guidelines until the department is able to make regulations required by the bill," Bronson said.

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