Roughly 20 nursing home residents in Colorado gathered outside their residence to protest against coronavirus restrictions in the state.
“We did this because one thing we have to look forward to is a simple hug,” one resident of the Fairacres Manor nursing home in Greeley, Colorado, told CBS 4 Denver last week. “It gives us meaning.”
Several of the residents in the protest were in wheelchairs and held signs reading, “Rather die from COVID than loneliness” and “prisoners in our own home.”
“Fairacres needs to be commended on how well they have cared for all of us, but it’s time for our voices to be heard,” Resident Council President Sharon Peterson said.
Ben Gonzales, an assistant administrator at Fairacres Manor, said residents are upset about regulations that prevent them from physical contact with their visitors, who are required to stay six feet away.
“They want to be able to hug their grandchildren, they want to be able to hold the hands of their loved ones,” Gonzales said.
The day after the protest, Colorado’s Democratic Gov. Jared Polis released a statement saying his office “absolutely” understands how difficult it has been for nursing home residents during the coronavirus outbreak.
“We absolutely understand how difficult it has been for residents of residential care facilities and their families,” the statement read. “Social interaction is essential to physical and mental health, and so we have provided guidance to residential care facilities that allows for that interaction while also keeping residents safe from COVID-19.”
The statement continued: “Restrictions have been in place previously, but residents are now able to visit loved ones both indoors and outdoors. In addition, we are doing everything possible to help long-term care facilities mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID-19 by working directly with facilities on proper infection control practices that have been proven to slow the spread of COVID-19.”