HENSALL, ONT. -- Gail Reid and Linda Webber are just a couple of the volunteers who used to work with seniors at Queensway Long-Term Care Home and Retirement Community in Hensall, but can't right now.

They aren’t allowed inside anymore due to COVID-19 precautions so they, along with the community, have come together to brighten up the exterior of the retirement home with Christmas cheer.

“You can’t give them hugs. You can’t even get in the building, so it’s the least we can do to help bring them some Christmas spirit,” says Webber.

“We’ve had three different groups come out on different nights, so we were able to social distance a bit better. We’ve had hockey groups, Kinettes, volunteers, family members. They really came out in droves to really help support our home,” says Margaret Sutherland, program manager at Queensway.

Huron-Perth is currently in the orange-restrict category under provincial guidelines, which means the only visitors allowed into long-term care homes are those providing “essential care.”

That means family visits have all but come to an end, so this might be the only activity Queensway seniors will see this holiday season.

“Our residents are missing their families, they’re missing their entertainment, they’re missing their volunteers. Our staff is doing an amazing job of trying to make their lives a little bit more enriched, but it’s just not the same,” says Sutherland.

Queensway is organizing a parade of 'dancing Santas' outside of the long-term care home later this month, to try and lift their seniors' spirits. But until then this display of community spirit will have to do.

“Hopefully it makes them happy,” says Reid, a volunteer decorator.

“Someday I might be here, and I’d really appreciate it,” says another local volunteer, Linda Webber