Sarasota Memorial opening doors to more visitors as of May 21, thanks to continuing decline in COVID-19 cases and uptick in vaccinations

Hours to be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, except in departments with their own specific guidelines

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“Sarasota Memorial Hospital is opening its doors to more visitors, thanks to a drop in hospitalizations, increasing immunity from COVID-19 vaccinations and a continuing decline in cases of COVID-19 across our community and nation,” the hospital announced on May 20.

The hospital staff planned to resume normal visiting hours — from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily — starting May 21, a news release said. “Most patients will be allowed to have two visitors at a time at the bedside during visiting hours,” the release added.

“With all of the positive trends we are seeing in the community, and the extra protection afforded by the COVID-19 vaccines, we felt it was time to welcome more visitors back into our hospital,” said Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Sarasota Campus President Lorrie Liang in the release. “Having friends and family members at the bedside is an important part of the healing process.”

“In general, visitors must be age 16 or older,” the release notes. “Certain departments, including the Mother-Baby Unit, Critical Care and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, have department-specific guidelines people should check before visiting,” it points out. In the Mother-Baby Unit, for example, siblings may visit from 3 to 5 p.m. daily, and one visitor may stay overnight, the release says.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) is still restricting visitors for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, with exceptions for extraordinary circumstances such as end-of-life situations, the release points out.

“The hospital is maintaining a universal masking policy for all staff, providers and visitors in public and patient-care areas of its facilities, as well as many other pandemic protocols as it continues to monitor transmission rates of the virus in the region,” the release adds.

“While hospital leaders strongly encourage everyone to get their vaccinations, proof of a COVID-19 shot is not required to visit patients in the hospital,” the release says. However, it continues, no person should visit the hospital if the person does not feel well or has any symptoms of respiratory illness.

SMH’s Bayside Center for Behavioral Health will remain closed for in-person visitation, but staff can assist with virtual or phone visits, the release notes.

The hospital’s Nursing & Rehabilitation Center on Rand Boulevard will continue to allow visitation by appointment.

For more visiting guidelines and hospital updates, visit the hospital website: