The state is moving closer to a limited reopening of long-term care facilities.

But, in the meantime, family members are still desperate to see their loved ones.

In the case of one St. Petersburg woman, her father’s assisted living facility is helping out – by giving her a job.

Every Thursday morning, Therese Ellis arrives at Grand Villa of St. Petersburg, ready to work.

“When I get inside the building, I come in wearing my N95 mask,” she told Spectrum Bay News 9. “I sign a paper that asks questions like ‘do I have a fever’ or ‘have I been tested for COVID?’”

Once she clears the health screening, Ellis can start teaching her life enrichment class, which her 90-year-old father is often a part of.

“My father has forgotten who I am, and it’s part of the progression of his disease. So I want to spend as much time as I can with him. And being able to be employed here, I can do that again,” Ellis shared.

Before the pandemic, she visited father a couple of times a week. Even after the lockdown, she continued to stop by, dropping off groceries for him and other residents.

When Executive Director Scott Elsass had a job opening at the facility, he didn’t hesitate to ask Ellis to apply.  Once her application went through, he was able to give her the good news.

“Well, when I called her, she wasn’t surprised she passed her background check,” Elsass joked.  “She was like, ‘yeah I had no doubt about that,’ and she was really excited about it,” Elsass explained.

“I was like ‘wow, really? Ok good,’” Ellis said. “Now I can spend time with my dad and just see how he is mentally doing – physically doing.”

That’s something you simply can’t do as well through a window, and thanks to Grand Villa, Ellis no longer has to.

Grand Villa Senior Living has a number of long-term care facilities across the state. A spokesperson told Spectrum Bay News 9 that family members are encouraged to apply for any open positions.