OTTAWA -- Family and friends can now visit with loved ones indoors at long-term care homes in Ottawa and eastern Ontario.

The Ontario Government says starting July 22, long-term care facilities can schedule indoor visits as an option for family members for their scheduled weekly visit.

Visits are only allowed at long-term care homes with no active cases of COVID-19 or a declared outbreak. 

In a memo to Council, Community and Social Services General Manager Donna Gray said indoor visits at Ottawa's four long-term care homes can accommodate up to two visitors for each resident and must occur in designated areas only at the time.

"Most indoor visits will be scheduled in a common area of the home, with exceptions for residents who are unable to leave their beds."

At all times during the visit, visitors inside the homes are required to wear a surgical/procedure mask. Visits will be limited to 30 minutes.

Gray says visitors for indoor visits will be required to attest that they have received a negative test result for COVID-19 within the last two weeks.

Long-term care homes not currently experiencing an outbreak of the novel coronavirus have allowed outdoor visits since June.  Visitors must wear a face covering, practice physical distancing and pass an active screening process for the visit.

Gray says visitors for outdoor visits are no longer required to attest to home staff that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous two weeks.

The City of Ottawa says all visits (indoor, outdoor, window and virtual) must be scheduled in advance.