Families in Texas may be able to visit their loved ones in nursing homes and assisted-living centers—even if, by law, they still cannot hug them.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced Aug. 6 limited visitation rules for nursing facilities and long-term care facilities. The commission is also issuing enhanced emergency rules that require additional action by nursing facilities to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

“Access to family and loved ones is an important part of every resident’s health and well-being, which is why this policy shift is a move in the right direction for some of our most fragile Texans,” said state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, in a news release.

For nursing facilities, public visitation is limited to outdoor visits only, and physical contact between residents and visitors is not permitted.

Additional conditions a facility must meet to conduct limited outdoor visitation include no confirmed COVID-19 cases in staff in the last 14 days, no active cases in residents, any facility previously experiencing an outbreak that has fully recovered must be adequately staffed and following adequate infection control procedures, and facility staff must be tested for COVID-19 weekly.

Click here for an interactive map showing the latest COVID-19 stats for nursing homes across the U.S.

For other long-term care facilities, limited indoor and outdoor visitations are allowed, but physical contact between residents and visitors is not permitted.

The use of plexiglass is required as a safety barrier for indoor visitation.

Enhanced emergency rules for nursing facilities include screening all residents at least three times a day for signs or symptoms, requiring a plan for obtaining and maintaining a two-week supply of personal protective equipment, and ensuring a response plan is in place if a resident tests positive.

“By following these procedures and rules, facilities can more effectively prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help us achieve our shared goal of reuniting residents with their families and friends," HHSC Executive Commissioner Phil Wilson said.