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Petition Calls On Florida Officials To Allow Nursing Home Visits During COVID-19

Provided by Lori Hershey
Duval School Board member Lori Hershey is pictured with her mother, Faye, before the pandemic.

A new online petition is demanding a way for family members to visit their loved ones in Florida’s long-term care facilities. 

The state isn’t allowing any visits during the Covid19 pandemic.  

Duval School Board member Lori Hershey has not been able to visit her mother in memory care since mid-March.  When she has seen her mom, it’s been through a window.

Credit Provided by Lori Hershey
Lori Hershey's mother, Barbara, is pictured recently through a window screen. Hershey and her mom are not allowed to have in-person visits due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Her mother has Alzheimer’s disease. Hershey said it’s time to demand in-person visits.  She started the  petition that she said will go to Duval delegates and Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

“I think loved ones are saying ‘we've been patient long enough,’ and now we want to know why there are not guidelines in place for us to be able to visit our loved ones. Because when you have a loved one in an assisted care facility - even those with the best of care - they still need advocates.”

She noted some hospitals are allowing visits after people are screened. As Hershey sees it, the separation is beginning to border on senior neglect.

She understands the coronavirus can kill, but with precautions, she said family members should be allowed to make limited visits.

“Time is ticking, and I'm losing it. She will probably not be here this time next year. And so while it's great to sit outside the window and share a milkshake with her, I would much rather just sit in her presence. Be able to hold her hand, and just sit with her.”

Hershey’s petition has more than 300 signatures so far.  Those interested in signing the petition will find it here.  Governor Ron Desantis on July 8th extended visiting restrictions for another 60 days.  

Michelle Corum can be reached at, 904-358-6308 or on Twitter at @MCorumonME.