'A long time coming': Families finally have face-to-face reunions with loved ones at LI nursing home

Tuesday was a day families had been looking forward to for over a year -- the chance to see their loved ones in nursing homes face-to-face.
Eight groups of families at Gurwin Nursing and Rehabilitation in Commack were the first to get a chance to visit inside the facility since the pandemic began. It comes after visitation guidelines were loosened last week.
Those who got the chance to visit say they can't put into words the feeling they had seeing their loved ones for the first time in a long time.
"This was a long time coming, we waited a long time," says Paulette Navel, of Melville.
Shelly Kindler says her mom was thrilled when she and her sister came to visit.
"She was in shock I think seeing us and was just blown away," says Kindler.
The families only got 15 minutes with loved ones, but hope soon it will be longer.
"Hopefully we sit outside on the patio, things that we did before that we haven't been able to do for a year would be so nice," says Navel.
Family members have to follow all COVID-19 guidelines before entering the building, like temperature checks, answering a questionnaire, sanitizing hands and wearing a mask.
The nursing home says they have approximately 360 residents living at the facility. Visitors are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated or tested before visiting, but it is not required.