REGINA -- Starting next week, some family members and support persons will be able to visit loved ones in long-term and acute care facilities in Saskatchewan.

The new visitation guidelines, announced by the government on Friday, mean only one family member or support person can be present in the facility at a time.

The guidelines also apply to personal care and group home settings. They take effect on July 7.

Premier Scott Moe told reporters that the issue of visitation has been tough to balance.

“We know how important it is for patients in hospitals to have the support of family, but on the other hand, some of the most dangerous outbreaks in Canada and elsewhere have been in health facilities,” he said. “It’s absolutely crucial to protect patients, residents and staff.”

The changes mean two family members or support persons can be identified for visiting patients and residents.

Two people can also be present at one time if physical distancing is maintained in such settings:

• Critical care and intensive care.

• End of life and palliative care.

• Maternal service units, including postpartum, neonatal intensive care and pediatric care.

The government says family members and support persons must follow safety requirements. This includes wearing a medical grade mask, physical distancing and hand hygiene. They must also limit their movement within a facility.

As well, additional family members or support persons may be identified for end of life, palliative and intensive or critical care.