Today, Assemblyman Brian Manktelow (R,C,I,Ref-Lyons) held a press conference regarding the restrictions in place on nursing homes and other assisted living facilities which prevent families and friends from connecting with their loved ones at the American Legion Post 468. Manktelow and members of the community called on Gov. Cuomo to lift the restrictions as the number of COVID-19 cases in the state remain low.
At the press conference, Joanne Miles Thomas, whose father, George Miles, Sr., and stepfather, Norman BanAs, are both at Legacy at Maiden Park in Greece, spoke about how she has been unable to properly visit with either Army veteran since the enactment of the COVID-19 restrictions in March. Gelsey Randazzo Markese also spoke about being unable to visit with her grandmother, who is at the Edna Tina Wilson Living Center in Greece.
Additional speakers included Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R,C,I,Ref-Castleton), ranker on the Assembly Veteran Committee, First Vice Commander of the American Legion Post 468 George Dadson, Town of Greece Supervisor William Reilich, and Town of Greece Councilman Mike Berry.
Labor Day weekend is upon us and these family members have not been able to sit by, touch or hug their loved ones for six months now, said Manktelow. Having heard from two of these families today, and the toll it has taken not only on their loved ones in nursing home and senior living facilities, but their entire families, I think it is high time we do something about this. We are asking the governor to do the right thing and open these facilities back up for visitation. The numbers are down, and we have protocol and PPE gear in place. Let these families be properly reunited.
We know how important visits from loved ones are for the emotional, mental and physical wellbeing of seniors in nursing facilities, said Ashby, who is the ranking member on the Assembly Committees on Aging and Veterans Affairs. For nearly half the year, our seniors have been cordoned off from their families. Now that the COVID-19 infection rate has plummeted and we have better preventative protocols in place, it is appropriate to welcome family members back to these facilities. I regularly receive calls from constituents who have been unable to see their parents and grandparents. We have to end this heartache and reunite families once again.
Saving our seniors is saving our future selves, said Miles Thomas.
At this detrimental time when our senior citizens are being repressed from using their own voices, it is our duty to be their advocates, said Randazzo Markese.