ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Department of Health released new guidelines on Thursday regarding outdoor visitation at long-term care facilities.

Nursing homes, assisted living, and other congregate care settings will be allowed to host outdoor visitation with strict guidelines for facilities, visitors, and residents to follow.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm says they hope to balance safety with important social interaction.

We continue to be very mindful of how the effects of isolation can have very serious impacts on the health and well-being of residents. We know that visitor restrictions, while intended to protect residents from infection, have been extremely challenging for residents and families over these last several months.

Effective immediately, visitors and residents can interact in outdoor spaces only with social distancing of six feet and mask-wearing.

Visitors will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, and physical contact is not allowed.

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