Long-Term Care Facilities Reopened for Visitors

On March 13, 2020, visits by the general public to long-term care (LTC) facilities were restricted by Executive Order from Gov. Cooper due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While essential medical personnel, facility staff members, and appropriate vendors continued to have access to LTC facilities, all others were forbidden. This resulted in the residents being unable to receive visitors, and visitors (including family members and resident representatives) not being able to visit the residents. Needless to say, the restrictions were challenging and difficult for everyone involved. 

However, the restrictions have now been lifted by another Executive Order, signed by Gov. Cooper. Residents are now able to receive visitors and visitors are now able to have access to the residents of LTC facilities. However, all visits MUST be within the following guidelines:

  • The LTC must be Covid 19 free (with no active cases) for at least 14 days.
  • All visits must be scheduled in advance, and will be limited in the amount of time alloted for the visit.
  • All visits will be monitored by LTC staff members.
  • No physical contact (touching, hugging, kissing) will be permitted.
  • All visitors must successfully complete a healthcare screening before being allowed to visit with the residents.
  • All residents and visitors must wear masks at all times during the visit.
  • Visitors are not allowed to visit with more than one resident at a time.
  • Visitors are required to maintain proper social distancing (6′ minimal spacing) at all times during the visit.
  • Residents and visitors are encouraged to wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizers frequently.

It is important to remember that, even though a visit has been scheduled in advance, the LTC facility has the right/responsibility to cancel visits with little or no notice in the event a positive test/case of Covid 19 is detected.

These restrictions and limitations are in place for the protection of everyone in LTC communities (residents, staff, families, community-at-large). Therefore, cooperation is needed and appreciated.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the LTC facility directly. If further clarification of these restrictions is needed you may contact the Regional LTC Ombudsman (828-586-1963, ext. 223). Be sure to leave a message and someone will get back to you.


Larry Reeves, Regional LTC Ombudsman