More than 20 nursing-home residents in Greeley, Colorado, gathered outside the facility this week to protest the state’s coronavirus restrictions, arguing that they would rather risk catching the virus than be separated from their loved ones.
— CBSDenver (@CBSDenver) October 9, 2020
“They want to be able to hug their grandchildren, they want to be able to hold the hands of their loved ones,” said Ben Gonzales, an assistant administrator at Fairacres Manors, according to CBS4.
Staff members helped wheel many of the residents outside so they could hold signs and “know that their voice does matter,” Gonzales added.
Some of the signs read: “Rather die from COVID than loneliness,” “Prisoners in our own home,” and “Give us freedom.”
Under Colorado’s current restrictions, senior citizens in long-term care facilities are not allowed to have physical contact with anyone inside or outside the facility.
“We used to be lucky here at Fairacres to show each other what we mean to one another and we cannot do that anymore,” said Resident Council President Sharon Peterson.
“Fairacres follows the rules and, with that, we think they would keep us safe while being able to be with our families again,” she said.
When asked about the protest, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis said he is sympathetic to “how difficult it has been for residents of residential care facilities and their families.”
But he added that social interaction must be done in a way that keeps residents “safe” from COVID-19.
“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,” Polis said in a statement.