A Texas skilled nursing facility decided that Cinco de Mayo was the perfect opportunity to do something special for patients after more than a year of being inside and experiencing limited interaction.

So, it broke the COVID blues by bringing in a mariachi band. 

Bridgemoor Transitional Care, a 105-bed skilled nursing facility in San Antonio, helped patients celebrate the Mexican holiday this year by hosting an outdoor performance by Mariachi Azul de San Antonio — much to the patients’ surprise. 

Patients practiced social distancing during the celebration on the facility’s outdoor patio. The festivities featured non-alcoholic margaritas, churros and enchiladas, rice and beans. The band also walked around the building to perform for those who were unable to leave their room and join the outdoor festivities. 

“We were just trying to figure out a way we can do it during COVID and still be socially distant and follow all of the rules and regulations,” Michelle Theus, Bridgemoor’s executive director, told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News recently. “We were very blessed that it was a gorgeous day and we were able to have it outside.” 

Theus added that the performance was specifically staged in reaction to the COVID-19 public health crisis. 

“[The pandemic] has really taken away that personal touch, which is something that is near and dear to my heart and very important to me,” she explained. “Sometimes that is as important in the healing process as the medical care that we’re giving, and we want to keep their spirits up. It was really a great day.” 

She said some patients called the celebration the “best time they’ve had in a year.” 

“It just melts your heart when you hear something like that because we haven’t been able to do much with COVID,” Theus noted. “It was nice to be able to have a little bit more interpersonal interactions.” 

Similar outdoor celebrations for patients around the Fourth of July and in August during an appreciation week are also planned.