A man whose wife is in a care home has started a legal fight to ensure she has tailored visits despite Covid rules.
Launching a case against Wigan Council, John Davies, 60, said his 58-year-old wife Michelle needed daily "face-to-face" contact with him and their son.
The couple's legal team told the Court of Protection that blanket policies had caused Mrs Davies, who has brain damage from a stroke, "personal desolation".
If successful, any ruling could affect thousands, Lorraine Cavanagh QC said.
Presiding over a preliminary virtual hearing, Mr Justice Hayden said the application was "difficult" and posed "challenging issues".
Ms Cavanagh, who has been instructed by Mr Davies to make the case on behalf of his wife, said it was "a paradigm example" of the "personal desolation" caused by "blanket visiting policies" applied since the outbreak of coronavirus.
She said while the Covid-19 pandemic had "required priority to be given to public health imperatives", there had been "a failure at all levels of government to recognise the central role that close family members play" in care and allow their involvement "to continue throughout the public health emergency".
Mr Justice Hayden waived the usual anonymity given to people at the Court of Protection after Mr Davies told him his wife would have wanted to be named if she had been able to make the decision.
A date for a further hearing has yet to be set.