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Minnesota nursing homes, churches gear-up for Easter

“With the weather being nice finally and Easter weekend, it couldn't have come at a better time."

SHAKOPEE, Minn. — As of Thursday, residents at Minnesota nursing homes and assisted living centers are allowed to leave the facility for less than 24 hours without having to quarantine.

"It was good to get out, been quite awhile,” said Faye Monson, a resident at Friendship Manor.

Monson left the facility for the first time in nearly a year on Thursday.

"We visited and then we had lunch and nice talking to my grandkids and great ones, some of them,” Monson said.

Jamie Mohlin is the director of social services at Friendship Manor and says it seems like there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel following the updated guidelines.

"You know a lot of them haven't been out in a year,” Mohlin said. “With the weather being nice finally and Easter weekend, it couldn't have come at a better time."

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, nursing home residents will not have to quarantine when they get back if they leave the nursing home for less than 24 hours and have not had close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

Any nursing home or assisted living resident is allowed to leave no matter their COVID vaccination status.

Less than three miles down the road from Friendship Manor is Friendship Church, a place that will also look a lot different this Easter compared to last year.

Matt Clausen is a pastor at Friendship Church and says last year’s Easter services were only online, and some people will be returning to church this Sunday for the first time in over a year.

"We're excited to be together in person tomorrow because we do think God made us to be people who interact and have community with each other,” Clausen said.

Though Easter services aren’t completely back to normal – many still require social distancing and mask wearing – this is a step in the right direction.

Adam Hengst is a pastor at Our Savior Lutheran Church and says though things have changed, one thing remains the same.

“We’re able to come and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, and other things may change but that’s really what Easter is about,” Hengst said.

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