FAMILIES can finally be reunited with their elderly relatives at Gibraltar residences as long as they are tested beforehand.
The decision by the Gibraltar Government to re-allow visits comes as active COVID-19 cases at Elderly Resident Services (ERS) homes returned to zero.
Across the Rock there are now only 41 residents who are infected with the virus that has locally killed five people so far.
From December 15 and across the festive season visitors will continue to be allowed as long as there are no further COVID-19 cases.
Members of the public who want to arrange a visit must book it through the residential floor first.
They will then need to ring 20041818 to arrange a swab test for that purpose between 7.30am and 12 noon the day before the booked visit.
It will be necessary to give consent to the drive-thru testing facility at Midtown to deliver the result to ERS to confirm they have the all-clear.
Elderly visits must take place on Tuesdays and Saturdays between 11am and 12 noon, 3-4pm or 6-7pm.
Between visits, premises will be cleaned to prevent any possibility of undetected infection.
The news means that the elderly will now be able to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with their loved ones after a very traumatic 2020.
No visits will be allowed from Boxing Day until December 29 when family members will be allowed back in.
Family will also be allowed at ERS facilities on New Year’s Eve and the first day of 2021.
Minister for Health and Care Samantha Sacramento said it was ‘heartbreaking but necessary’ to place the elderly in lockdown after new cases were detected there in October.
She said she was now ‘delighted’ to welcome visitors back for the holidays.
“The staff at ERS have worked extremely hard to establishing a safe visiting procedure,” said Sacramento.
“We must however all remember that there will always be an element of risk and we impress upon all visitors the importance of strictly observing the rules for the safety of all.”