Florida Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Florida Lifts Visitation Ban on Long-Term Care Facilities, But With Serious Restrictions

September 5, 2020
florida nursing home

Depending on a number of factors, you may be able to once again visit with your loved one who resides in a Florida nursing home or assisted living facility. Long-term care facilities and assisted living facilities were closed to most visitors beginning in March 2020, when Florida imposed a lockdown designed to halt the spread of  Coronavirus.

Residents of these facilities and their loved ones have been suffering considerable emotional distress as a result of the separation. Recognizing the perils of continued separation, Florida Governor DeSantis recently appointed a task force to explore ways to again allow visitation in a safe manner. The task force’s guidelines have now been incorporated in the governor’s executive order of September 1, which lifts the ban on visitation – but only partially. The re-opening is by no means a return to pre-Coronavirus standards. The new rules for visits are extremely specific and extremely narrow.

Here are the basic contours:

  • A long-term facility can open to visitors only if no new coronavirus cases have been reported at the facility, both among staff and residents, within the 14 days preceding the visit. Visits will cease if a new case is reported. However this may be waivers for “essential” or “compassionate” visitors – see below.


  • A resident or a resident’s representative may specify two essential caregivers. These are individuals who assist residents with activities of daily life such as bathing, dressing, eating, emotional support. The resident may have one such visitor at a time.


  • Compassionate care visitors are those who provide emotional support to residents dealing with trauma or other difficult situations. The resident or representative can specify two individuals as compassionate care visitors. The resident may have one such visitor at a time.


  • The resident may have five “general” visitors on his visitation list. General visitors must wear a face mask, and remain six feet away from staff and residents. No more than two general visitors may visit at any one time. General visitors must be 18 years old and over. Temperature screenings and other screening questions will be required for entry.


  • Visits must be arranged in advance.


  • Salons and barber shops may open with certain restrictions in place.


Read more about the order lifting the visitation ban here. You can read the governor’s executive order here.