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Archived - What you need to know about Ottawa’s plan to reopen

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June 10, 2020
Feature Stories

A women and her child in a transit station

Since COVID-19 arrived in March, residents have done an incredible job following public health guidelines. Thanks to the hard work of our health care workers and the sacrifices of our community, we flattened the curve and slowed the spread of the virus.

Based on the Government of Ontario’s plan to gradually relax restrictions and guidance from Ottawa Public Health, the City is cautiously resuming some programs and services. As we gradually reopen, facilities will look different and some services will be delivered in new or modified ways.

So, what’s the plan?

COVID-19 may be in our community for a long time, so reopening means adapting.

We’re reopening facilities and resuming services in phases. And we’ll be monitoring closely to ensure we don’t undo our progress.

  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we closed some services in March. But throughout the pandemic, much of the City’s work continued, including our emergency first responders (fire, police and paramedics), our Emergency Management Office, maintenance of our key assets (including our roads and drinking water treatment facilities) and our public works and operations (garbage collection and traffic services).
  • We also adapted some services so they can be delivered safely. Our existing virtual services continued, and some in-person services are now provided online.
  • Our reopening plan prioritizes public transit, recreation and childcare services to help residents returning to work and provide some heat relief during the summer months. Social services will reopen to support our most vulnerable. Counter services will resume, by-appointment only.
  • Reopening City services safely will take time. So, services will gradually reopen in July with more opening in August.

What will City facilities look like?

City facilities are being adjusted to help residents and employees follow public health guidelines.

  • The number of people allowed in facilities and public spaces will be limited 
  • City employees will wear personal protective equipment where required or use preventative measures, such as wearing cloth masks when physical distancing is not possible
  • Facilities will be cleaned more frequently and thoroughly
  • Important protective measures will be installed, such as:
    • Signage and posters with information about physical distancing, handwashing, health screening and other relevant safety measures
    • Floor decals and directional markings to show appropriate physical distancing for line-ups
    • Sneeze guards and protective screens at public-facing service counters
    • Hand sanitizer dispensers installed at all entrances

Will I need to wear a mask to access City services?

You must wear a mask to take OC Transpo, but some exceptions apply. We strongly recommend wearing a cloth mask while on City property when physical distancing isn’t possible. Ottawa Public Health has many resources on cloth masks here.

What can I do to help Ottawa reopen?

We all have a role to play to avoid a second wave of COVID-19. We must stay vigilant and prioritize the health of our community – it’s important that we keep following public health guidelines to:

  • Stay two metres away from people we don’t live with
  • Wear cloth masks when physical distancing is not possible
  • Wash our hands properly
  • Stay at home when we’re sick

What can businesses and workplaces do?

Reopening businesses safely will help our community and economy recover. We will fuel Ottawa’s economic recovery by supporting activities that generate revenue for the City and local businesses while safeguarding the health of the community.

Our buy local campaign continues to provide residents ways to support local businesses. The webpage also links to provincial and federal assistance programs.

What happens if Ottawa sees a surge in cases once we start reopening?

We continue to work with Ottawa Public Health, and we’re prepared to implement more stringent public health measures and adjust the reopening plan if required.

What is being done to help vulnerable residents?

Our Human Needs Task Force provides help to those who need it. We assess evolving local needs and work in collaboration with community partners to support the most at-risk people in our community. Our efforts focus on food security, homelessness and sheltering, and outreach and social services. The task force is also working with community agencies on service resumption and with Ottawa Public Health around supports that are essential to community agencies. To find out what supports are available, including childcare, housing seniors' services, financial assistance, and more, please visit our Family and social services - COVID-19 web page.

Stay in the know

We will continue to share information about City services and facilities as they reopen. Please check for the latest information or follow us on our social channels Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Residents can also call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) for updated information.

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