Recommendations for safely reopening Florida’s long-term care facilities are now on their way to Governor Ron DeSantis, after the task force he created finalized their proposal on Wednesday.

What You Need To Know

  • The recommendations include plans for general visitation.

  • They are not mandatory.

  • They include ability for families to file complaints, if necessary.

At a roundtable discussion in Orlando, the governor said he supports limited visitation – an indication he will move forward with the plan.

“My view on all of this, since the beginning, is you got to do things to keep people safe – particularly our most vulnerable in those facilities,” DeSantis said. “But, just like anything else, you got to find a way to get stuff done, and this visitation is long overdue at this point. We’ve got to get it done.”

For many families, this move signals a long-awaited light at the end of the tunnel after being banned from visiting since March.

Task force member Mary Daniel, who made national headlines when she took a dishwashing job at her husband’s assisted living facility earlier this summer, expects it to be just a matter of days before a new emergency rule – or an amendment to the original – is put in place.

“I cannot wait to hear from everybody because everybody’s going to get in,” Daniel said.

That’s because, along with essential and compassionate caregivers, the recommendations will allow for general visitation.

Of course, there will be guidelines. Among them, a facility must have no new cases of COVID-19 for at least 14 days, and visitors must wear masks and practice social distancing.

The recommendations won’t be mandatory, thought. That’s something Daniel calls a major compromise.

“It is a bit of a concern, but there is a remedy in our recommendations,” Daniel said. “They will include what a family can do and that is file a complaint with AHCA if they feel their facility is not moving forward to get them in.”

Daniel also pointed out that the recommendations are meant to be a “living document,” meaning the task force can reconvene to make adjustments.