COVID-19: Long-Term Care & Retirement Homes

For information on supporting older adults during COVID-19, please see the information on the Older Adults page.


Visits at Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes

The Ontario government is allowing visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other residential care settings.  All visits in all settings will be subject to strict health and safety protocols - see below for general information and links to further details. Please contact the home you will be visiting to confirm their protocols. Do not visit your loved one if you are not feeling well.

Long-term care and retirement homes, as well as other residential care settings, must meet the following conditions before they welcome visitors:

  • Homes must not be in outbreak.
  • Homes must have an established process for communicating visitor protocols and the associated safety procedures.
  • Homes must maintain the highest infection prevention and control standards.

In the event of an outbreak at an individual home or residential care setting, non-essential visits will be restricted.

If you are required to book an appointment for a COVID-19 test, please contact the Assessment Centre nearest you or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. 

Long-Term Care Homes

Long-term care homes must implement enhanced testing requirements. They are using point-of-care rapid antigen tests for staff, student placements and volunteers, as well as caregivers, support workers and general visitors (where permitted entry). See below for more information on rapid testing. Please contact the home you will be visiting to confirm their protocols.

Ontario has opened up outdoor visits for friends and family of long-term care residents. As of May 22, 2021, the following applies:

  • A maximum of two general visitors at a time per resident in addition to two essential caregiver(s). 
  • Children under the age of two years do not count towards the general visitor maximum. 
  • General visitors need to be actively screened upon arrival and should not proceed beyond entry points/areas in homes. 
  • General visitors do not need to undergo a rapid antigen test as their visit will be outdoors. 
  • General visitors need to maintain physical distancing and wear masks and every effort should be made to ensure different groups of visitors are also physically distanced. 
  • Recognizing that not all homes have enough outdoor space, these visits may also take place in the general vicinity of the home. Homes should leverage nearby amenities such as local parks or parkettes to enable family and friends to visit their loved ones.

Effective June 9, 2021, the following also applies:

  • Residents who have been fully immunized can leave their long-term care homes for day and overnight social outings and trips. 
  • Residents with mobility limitations or health conditions (essentially, factors unrelated to weather) that make participating in outdoor visits highly unlikely or impossible may have one general visitor at a time inside the long-term care home, in addition to an essential caregiver. 
  • Regardless of resident and visitor vaccination status, brief hugs can now take place. Where both the resident and visitors are fully immunized, close physical contact, including hand holding, can now take place safely. It continues to be important that residents and visitors adhere to public health measures in the home, including good hand hygiene and appropriate masking.

For full details on visiting, see the COVID-19: Visiting Long-Term Care Homes page.

Retirement Homes

For details on visiting, see the Retirement Home COVID-19 Visiting Policy.



Last Updated: 25/10/2021