On July 10, 2020, the State of New York’s Office For People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) released new guidance for group homes for the disabled.
According to CBS 6 News, home visits and community outings had been banned since March 24 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new guidelines, which went into effect on July 15, allow home visits and community outings to resume. The much-needed guidelines provide that group home residents may make home visits provided that they are not suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19; that they pass a temperature check and a health screening; that they wash their hands prior to their departure and return; and that they do not visit anyone who has COVID-19, is suspected to have COVID-19, or is currently under a COVID-19 quarantine.
Community outings are now allowed as well, provided that no residents or staffers of a given group home have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past 14 days.
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms supports the new guidelines and hopes that they will restore a sense of normalcy and connection to the lives of disabled individuals. While it is very important to protect group home residents from the coronavirus, it is also important on a mental health level for them to be connected to their loved ones and to their communities.