GILBERT, AZ — A big milestone has been reached at a Gilbert assisted living facility. Every resident has received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination which means they can start to lift some of the restrictions.
It's been a year of ups and downs, with reopening and closings taking place as the COVID-19 case numbers spiked and fell throughout the past year.
At Quail Park at Morrison Ranch, staff had to suspend all in-person visitation and limit family members and friends to see their loved ones through a thick barrier of glass in an area dubbed the "conversation corner." Now visitors will be greeted by a big dinosaur at the facility's entrance announcing that window visits are "extinct."
Dawn Milburn, a spokeswoman for the facility, says residents will also be allowed to leave the building and go for walks around the large property once again, including visiting the popular hotspot the Lake at Morrison Ranch.
Milburn said residents erupted into cheers when they made the announcement during a meeting last week.
"All I can think of is walking out the front door and saying, 'yahoo!'" laughed 88-year-old Joan Perre, who said she found the lake to be a calming spot and says she looks forward to looking at the ducks and watching the children play.
Leah Ray Duea, 86, is looking forward to having her sister, who has received both vaccines, visit her in her apartment once again.
"To be able to see them in person, it means so much. We just get so lonesome for each other," said Duea.
"I'm definitely going to try to sneak in a hug," she added, stating she realizes the facility did not recommend taking it that far just yet.
Milburn said the year of being in "lockdown" has taken its toll on both residents and staff. As more people received vaccinations throughout the state, they are looking to the governor's office for further guidance on when they can allow residents to leave the property again.
Right now, Milburn said residents are still not allowed to leave the property unless it was for a medically necessary purpose.