Babies and toddlers will also be able to accompany visitors, and will not be counted as one of the two.
Meanwhile, the essential care giver scheme – whereby relatives or specially trained assistants of residents with particularly complex needs have greater access to a home – will also continue, the Government said.
The scheme was set up to help residents with advanced dementia, some autistic people and residents with a learning disability who needed a particular person to provide certain aspects of their care.
The Government also said that, in the coming weeks, some visitors will be able to take tests at home rather than having them done at the care home.
“Our aim is to make visiting to care homes as normal as possible by the summer,” said the Government’s care minister, Helen Whately.
She said the Government continued to “follow the science”, but that “things are looking up”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “I’m particularly pleased to allow residents to have more visitors, including grandchildren, given the isolation and concern felt by so many this past year.”
In addition, outdoor visits – as well as those inside pods or behind screens – will be able to continue for people who are not nominated as a regular visitor.
The announcement on visits was welcomed by Mike Padgham, the chairman of industry body, the Independent Care Group – but called for residents aged over-65 to be allowed to take trips outside homes.
According to the latest government guidance – which is facing a legal challenge – trips to see family or friends “should only be considered” for under-65s, while national Covid restrictions apply, because they increase the risk of bringing Covid into a home.
But campaigners say the ban is unlawful.
Mr Padgham, who runs four homes in North Yorkshire, said: “It is hard to object to a party of over-65s going out in a minibus, for example, to enjoy a change of scenery and some fresh air, provided they were careful.
We would like to see the government give greater guidance on this going forward.”
What changes have come into effect for care home residents in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?
In Northern Ireland, government guidance states that where possible, visiting should be facilitated where there are well-ventilated designated rooms or visiting pods – but families are still being denied visits, the nation’s Older People’s Commissioner has claimed.