WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. - Visitors are now allowed into nursing homes. The emergency order issued by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that kept people out has been completely lifted.
One assisted living facility in Seminole County is celebrating its reopening. Every in-house resident at the Watermark at VistaWilla received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine back in February. On Wednesday, it was the first time in a year that the residents were able to gather outside for a live concert.
The crowd was singing, tapping, smiling and staff dancing all around them.
"I’m loving it," said 95-year-old Terri DiSimio.
DiSimio was front and center for this special celebration. After a year of being cooped up inside and away from people.
"I’m way more comfortable," she said as she took her facemask off.
She said she no longer has to wear a mask inside. She is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
"I don’t feel locked up anymore," she laughed.
It’s been a long year having to see the family through glass – not even able to share a hug.
"It’s coming to an end," DiSimio said. "Thank God."
Wednesday was the first day that residents at the assisted living facility could gather together and enjoy each other’s company.
"Visitors are welcome," executive director Patty Wallace said. "You always have to check-in, you always have to wear your mask, but visitors are welcome."
DiSimio said she’s ready to go back to normal and has some ideas for how she plans to spend the rest of her retirement.
"I’m going to cut loose," she laughed. "I’m not going to worry about saving money. I’m going to have fun."
While all in-house residents have been vaccinated, about 25 percent of the staff chose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine. So there are still safety measures in place to protect everyone.
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