The limit on how many named visitors a care home resident can receive will be lifted at the final stage of the road map out of lockdown, but some protective measures will remain, the Government has said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a Downing Street press conference that the limit on named visitors will be lifted when Step 4 is reached, on what has been widely dubbed freedom day.
Number 10 said infection control measures will remain in place to protect residents.
Step 4 is due to begin on July 19 if the Government’s “four tests” for easing restrictions have been met.
In guidance published by the Cabinet Office, the Government said specific guidance will advise how visits should be conducted in order to take place in as normal a way as possible while keeping care homes safe.
The document also said care homes will need to retain infection prevention and control measures which are “essential” to protecting residents.
Currently, residents in England are able to receive visits from up to five named relatives and friends, with a maximum of two visitors at any one time or day.
This can include an essential caregiver to provide additional care and support who can continue visiting, even if the home has a Covid-19 outbreak.
Residents can leave the home for visits to see family and friends, including overnight stays and activities such as attending day centres, medical appointments and education.
But they must self-isolate for 14 days on their return to the home after overnight stays in hospital and other visits out which are assessed as “high-risk”.
Earlier on Monday, care minister Helen Whately said care home visiting was unlikely to “completely go back to normal” and some precautions will still be needed when the final stage of the road map is reached.
Ms Whately told Sky News: “We will be taking some more steps as part of Step 4 of the road map.
“I don’t think visiting will completely go back to normal.
“There will still have to be some precautions.
“It’s step by step, getting things as close to normal as we can, while still protecting people who are at greater risk from Covid.”
Ms Whately told Times Radio Breakfast that she expects the requirement of face masks in health and care settings to continue.