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Rules and restrictions


The primary focus for Ottawa Police Services and By-law and Regulatory Services is awareness and education.

While gatherings over five people are legally prohibited, it is imperative that we all follow recommendations for physical (social) distancing and avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) from those around you. For more information, please visit Ottawa Public Health.

Physical distancing is a recommendation from public health agencies to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is not Federal or Provincial law and is not something that can be enforced by Police or By-Law.

By-Law Services

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the primary focus for By-law and Regulatory Services is awareness and education.

However, By-law officers can issue fines to individuals who fail to comply to the new physical-distancing rules under the Ontario Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

If you are feeling unwell in any way, please stay home.

If you are feeling well, you are still allowed to leave your home and do the following:

  • Do yard work or home maintenance
  • Go for a walk, skate or bike ride
  • Go to a store or permitted place of business, if necessary
  • Go to work, if necessary
  • Check on a friend, neighbour or loved one, if necessary

You are not allowed to do the following:

  • Gather in a group of more than five people; 10 people are permitted for funerals.
  • Operate a business that does not have an exemption.
  • Offer dine-in service in a food or hospitality business.

Failure to comply to gathering restrictions could result in a fine of $880 – including the victim surcharge.

Residents should call 3-1-1 if they have concerns.

Ottawa Police

Ottawa Police Services will enforce the Quarantine Act that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. Individuals who exhibit symptoms will be issued a red card by Canada Border Services Agency.

Individuals who work to ensure the continued flow of goods and services, and those who provide essential services are exempt from the order.

Residents can call 613-236-1222 ext. 7502.

Physical (social) distancing

In order to decrease transmission of COVID-19 in Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health is now recommending that all residents of Ottawa practise physical (social) distancing. Physical (social) distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with. This will help to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

These guidelines are not meant to say “you must stay in your home!” You can still go outside to take a walk, or walk your dog. If you need groceries, go to the store. We simply recommend that while outside you make sure to avoid crowds and maintain a distance of 2 metres from those around you.

While you may not feel sick, and while we know these measures are an inconvenience, please be mindful of the members of our community who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than others. We are all in this together.

Gatherings now limited to five

The Ontario government has prohibited organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, effective immediately., with some exceptions: This order does not apply to

  • Private households with five people or more.

  • Child care centres supporting frontline health care workers and first responders provided the number of persons at each centre does not exceed 50 people.

  • Funerals, which are permitted to proceed with up to 10 people at one time.

5 ways to practise physical (social) distancing

  1. keep a distance of 2 meters when going out
  2. avoid large gatherings
  3. work from home if possible
  4. avoid visiting elderly friends or relatives
  5. conduct meetings or visits virtually

Physical (social) distancing includes, but is not limited to:

  • talking to your supervisor, manager, or employer about the possibility of working from home where possible
  • avoiding visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing, hospices and other congregating unless the visit is absolutely essential
  • avoiding non-essential trips in the community
  • keeping the windows down if you have to go into the community for an essential trip via taxi or rideshare
  • limiting or cancelling group gatherings
  • holding virtual meetings
  • spending time outside and in settings where people can maintain a 2 metre distance from each other


Unless you are ill, or are under self-isolation under the Quarantine Act, you can still go outside, such as for a walk. While outside, avoid crowds and do your best to maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) from those around you. Make an effort to step aside, or pass others quickly and courteously on sidewalks. Passing someone on the sidewalk is not considered close contact or a significant risk for exposure to COVID-19.

Garage Sales and Giveaway Weekend

Garage Sales

Garage sales are also prohibited until further notice. These types of events attract gatherings of five or more people – which is in violation of the physical-distancing measures enacted under the Ontario Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Giveaway Weekend

Due to the emergency measures to support physical distancing with COVID-19 pandemic, the City has cancelled the spring edition of Giveaway Weekend that was scheduled for the weekend of June 6 and 7.

Farmer’s Markets

Farmer’s Markets have been deemed an essential business under the current Order from the Province of Ontario. Please note that market organizers require landowner permission to operate while Provincial orders are in place. Market organizers must also contact Ottawa Public Health to review their plans before operating.

Ottawa Farmer’s Market (Lansdowne): Opens May 31 for pick-up only

Property Maintenance Services

The Province of Ontario permits property maintenance businesses – including lawncare and landscaping businesses – to resume operations. These businesses must comply with strict public health measures for the safety of their employees and clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses and residents should make use of virtual tools for contactless discussion, scheduling and payment for essential work.

For more information on the business resumption and operation guidelines, visit for more information.