CARE home bosses have been forced to suspend visits to residents as part of the heightened Covid-19 alert.

Care provider Sonnet runs two homes in Braintree – the New Deanery and St Mary’s Court.

The company says the move to make Essex a tier two ‘high’ category risk area means care homes have had to restrict visits to residents.

The new government restrictions have been criticised by some families, but Sonnet bosses say most have been “incredibly understanding”.

Chief executive Julia Clinton said: “There appears to be some confusion in so much as the recent decision to close to visitors was out of our hands.

“The rules in respect of areas designated tier two include suspending social visits to care homes, and therefore, with effect from midnight on Friday we had no other option.

“Our residents and their families have on the whole been incredibly understanding.

“They were of course disappointed last week, and in some cases not entirely supportive of the Government’s stance, but they know it is not our decision and they tell us they are thankful for the work we are doing.

“We are all hopeful of an easement in the coming weeks, and note with interest the Government’s suggestion that visits may be able to resume if nominated family members are designated key workers.

“We understand the proposal is that, in addition to the existing visitor protocols, they would submit to weekly Covid-19 tests.”

The New Deanery, in Bocking, and St Mary’s Court have both been awarded National Gold Standards Framework award.

The awards recognise the outstanding commitment of their teams to residents.

Sonnet says it is continuing to do all it can to support residents, using FaceTime and phone calls to make it easier for families to keep in touch.