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What can I do during the stay-at-home order?

How is the City enforcing the stay-at-home order?

The City is asking residents to comply voluntarily with the Provincial stay-at-home order, which requires everyone to stay home unless leaving for an essential purpose, like going to work, attending a doctor’s appointment, buying groceries or exercising.

We know that what one person considers essential might not be considered essential to someone else, which is why we will enforce the stay-at-home order on a complaint basis.

We will continue to focus enforcement primarily on businesses, social gatherings, the Temporary Mandatory Mask By-law and social gathering limits in public spaces and parks.

Can I meet up with a group of up to five people to exercise or walk together?

Unfortunately, no. To respond to the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases, the Province of Ontario has made it illegal to gather indoors or outdoors with anyone you do not live with.

For those who are living alone, it is permitted to have close contact with one additional household.

If it’s cold outside – can I visit my close friends indoors, or in their garage?

At this time, indoor social gatherings are not allowed. That includes gathering in a garage, even if the door is open.

If you live alone, you may choose to have close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation, as long as the contact is exclusive to only one other household.

We know this is difficult, but COVID-19 can be spread even at the smallest of gatherings.

Can I provide care for a relative in need?

Yes, the provincial stay-at-home order specifically allows you to assist family members not living with you by delivering goods or providing care or other support to a person who requires such assistance. This includes:

  • Providing care for a person in a congregate care setting
  • Delivering groceries to seniors
  • Providing childcare for a parent who must work
  • Taking a child to their parent/guardian or to their residence

What types of businesses can be open right now?

For general questions about the types of businesses that can be open, please call Ontario’s Stop the Spread Business Hotline at 1-888-444-3659.

Also see Provincial and City rules.

My boss is making me come into work, even though I can do all my work from my home. Can the City intervene?

If you have concerns about health and safety in the workplace, please call the Ministry of Labour at 1-877-202-0008, or email

What if I see someone breaking the rules and putting public health at risk? How do I make a complaint?

Don’t approach the business or homeowner yourself. If you believe public health is at risk, call 3-1-1 to file a report. Reports cannot be made online or via social media.

When you call 3-1-1, the agent will ask for your contact information so the By-law Officer can call you with questions. You cannot make an anonymous report. Your personal information is kept confidential, unless you are asked to testify in court.

Overall, let’s be patient, considerate and understanding. These are difficult times, but we’re all in this together.

Can I play on the basketball courts, tennis courts, ball diamonds or sports fields?

The Province’s enhanced restrictions under the current Stay-at-Home order closes many outdoor sports and recreation amenities – including:

  • Basketball courts
  • Tennis and pickleball courts
  • Skate and bike parks
  • Ball diamonds
  • Sports fields – grass and artificial turf
  • Batting cages

These closures are not only to team and group play. It extends to kicking, hitting or throwing the ball, including one person shooting hoops.

Can we use the picnic area and benches in the park, even if we are from the same household?

The answer is no, even you are with the same family or household. Picnic tables and areas are part of the outdoor recreation amenities that are closed under the new provincial restrictions.

What can I do in the park?

Playground equipment, like swings, slides, and climbing structures, are open for play for children. The Ottawa Public Health order also makes masks mandatory for those standing five metres from the play area. Children must also wear masks while using the equipment, except those under two (2) years of age. It also applies to a child who is under five (5) years of age chronologically or developmentally, and who refuses to wear a mask and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver.

You can also walk, jog, cycle and walk your dog through the park. If you’re doing it as a group, the other members must be from your household.

What construction work or maintenance operations can remain reopen?

Under the current regulations, the following construction project, activities, and services – which includes land surveying and demolition – can continue on the following:

  • Critical projects – such as hospitals, healthcare facilities, roads and bridges, transit-related, energy sector, schools and post-secondary institutions, affordable housing, childcare facilities, residential development, and broadband and telecommunications capacity, and industrial facilities that deal with medical, food, equipment, and products for manufacturing, processing and distribution.

See full details on the Government of Ontario website.

Do I need documentation to cross the interprovincial border – going either way?

With the Stay-at-Home, you and your family are to limit your travel outside the home for essential reasons. Ottawa Police Service will conduct periodic checks on the bridges and ferry landings leading to Ontario to ensure travel is for essential reasons.

If your crossing for work, advise the officer and show your work pass or letter, should your employer provide one. You can also explain if you need to take care of a loved one or deliver food or supplies to a loved one.

Can a person or loved one living alone come into my household?

The social gathering restriction prohibits members from another household to enter your home. The one exception is a person or loved one who lives alone. However, you may extend your household to member to include this one person, but one person must be exclusive to the one household and cannot belong to other social bubbles.

This helps avoid exposure and transmission of the COVID-19 virus – even if that person has received their single vaccine dose.

If my parents have had their vaccination, can they have their grandchildren visit or stay over?

During this Stay-at-home order, the goal is to minimize contact between households and help stop the spread while vaccinating towards community immunity continues. So, even with a single dose of vaccine, you still need to follow all public health measures – including masking and no indoor gatherings.

This is to protect your parents or in-laws and your children from contracting or transmitting the COVID-19 virus.