Care home residents are celebrating the lifting of restrictions on the number of visitors they can receive.
From Monday, those living in care homes in England are able to have unlimited visits from family and friends, the Government has said, meaning they will be able to reunite with loved ones they may not have seen for months.
Christine Rogers, 93, who lives at the Signature At Weybridge care home in Surrey, told the PA news agency the development was “absolutely wonderful”.
In recent months, residents have only been allowed three named visitors, plus an essential caregiver, and they saw each other while separated by a glass screen.
She said: “It was better than nothing, but not very satisfactory really, because you can’t really hear very well.”
Ms Rogers said she was looking forward to visits from her son, daughter, daughter-in-law and granddaughter, who always “bring all sorts of lovely things – flowers, always”.
“I tell them not to, I say it’s lovely to see them – you know, they don’t need to bring anything, but then they don’t take any notice.”
She also said she was looking forward to “catching up on all the gossip”.
The Government first announced the end of national restrictions on care home visits in November.
However, it then imposed the limit on visitor numbers when the Omicron variant hit.
John Cooke, 88, who also lives at the Weybridge care home, was on Monday reunited with his friend of 45 years, Val Gadd, 75, without needing to be separated by a screen and masks.
Mr Cooke said the lifting of the visitor rules was “very good” and meeting face-to-face was “much better”, adding: “Talking through glass is not necessarily the best way to meet.”
A senior care assistant at the home said the restrictions on visitors during the pandemic had taken a “massive toll” on residents.
Samantha Relff-Arnold, 24, said: “It’s been really upsetting for them to not be able to have their loved ones close by, especially when the times have been so tough.