ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Senior living communities across the state are finding relief in relaxed state and local visitation restrictions.

Thursday Governor Greg Abbott announced nursing home facilities, assisted living centers, state supported living centers and other long-term care facilities are allowed to reopen for visitation.

“They must comply with certain health protocols and there must be no COVID outbreaks at those facilities,” said Abbott during a Thursday press conference.

Thursday’s announcement expands limited visitation rules Texas Health and Human Services permitted back in August. 

Nestled at the edge of quiet neighborhoods on Round Rock’s west side is The Rose at Round Rock. The facility recently received approval to move forward with visitations.

Thursday, Brenda Masselink visited her dad for the first time in months.

“This has been a nightmare for dad,” said Masselink. “He has also maintained a very good attitude during this. I am so thankful for that. If he hadn’t, then he may not be here.”

The facility’s executive director says the approval to restore some normalcy is a breath of fresh air.

“The challenges that come with aging—loss of vision and eyesight—are just magnified when you’re having to visit with a glass window in front of you,” said Brian Haddock, The Rose Executive Director. “There have been some misty-eyed moments this past week with family members connecting again.”

For now, visits at The Rose come with a strict set of guidelines:

  • Visits must be scheduled in advance and by appointment only. 
  • Outdoor visits must take place in designated areas in a comfortable and safe outdoor visiting area separated from residents. 
  • Indoor visits must occur in a designated space and require plexiglass between the resident and visitor 
  • All visitors must be screened and maintain a six-foot distance from residents at all times. Physical contact between residents and visitors is prohibited. Masks are required throughout visit as well as staff supervision. 
  • Visitation areas must be sanitized between visits per CDC guidelines.

The facility will consider the governor’s latest order in making any other changes.