BARRIE, ONT. -- Hugging, holding hands and outings are now allowed for some residents at long-term care homes in Simcoe County.

The province is easing restrictions Wednesday and allowing more social interactions with loved ones.

Brief hugs are now allowed regardless of vaccination status. Handholding is also allowed as long as the resident and visitors are fully immunized.

Fully vaccinated residents can go on day and overnight social outings and trips.

Residents who are unable to participate in outdoor visits may have one extra visitor at a time in addition to an essential caregiver.

In a release June 3, the government said high levels of vaccinations and improvements in key public health indicators were responsible for the changes to the restrictions.

As of May 30, it was estimated 97 per cent of long-term care residents across Ontario were are fully immunized and more than 89 per cent of staff have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination.