Nursing home residents would have a designated "essential person" who would be able to visit the resident amid strict guidelines surrounding who can enter the facilities. 

The measure is backed by Assemblywoman Melissa Miller and comes amid growing concerns over the visitation rules for nursing homes in New York. 

Current rules require nursing homes to be free of COVID cases for at least 28 days before visitors are allowed on a limited basis.

Nursing homes were especially vulnerable to the coronavirus and at least 6,300 residents have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in New York. The death toll is likely higher given the state does not count residents who died in hospitals as part of the nursing home fatality rate. 

“The safety and well-being of our nursing home residents must be a top priority. They represent the most vulnerable population during this pandemic,” Miller said.

“The isolation of no longer having their loved ones visit has caused widespread depression and worsening of health. None of us are immune to the radical changes in our daily lives since this pandemic started in March; our nursing home and skilled care facility residents are no different. This legislation is crucial to ensuring, and protecting the physical and emotional health of our citizens.”

The measure as introduced by Miller would allow the essential person -- a family member or health care proxy who had visit the facility prior to the pandemic at least three days a week -- the ability to aid, feed, dress and provide emotional support to the resident.