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Rules and restrictions


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

The Ontario Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act makes physical distancing mandatory at social gatherings and in businesses.

To decrease the transmission of COVID-19 in Ottawa it is recommended that all residents practice physical distancing. Physical distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of people outside your household that you interact with, ensuring that whenever possible the people you interact with remain more than 2 metres (6 feet) away, and that people wear a mask when they may not be able to maintain 2m distance from people outside of their social circle. This will help to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community. For more information, please visit Ottawa Public Health.

By-law and Regulatory Services

Although awareness and education is the primary focus, By-law Officers can issue fines to individuals who fail to comply with the Orders set out under the Ontario Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. In addition, By-law Officers can issue fines for lack of adherence to the Temporary Mandatory Mask By-law. Fines are generally issued when verbal warnings are ineffective to gain compliance or for repeat offenders.

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

The Province of Ontario has permitted Ottawa to move to the Stage Three of the provincial reopening framework which includes the following allowances:

  • Personal-care businesses, including services that tend to customer’s faces

  • Indoor dining at restaurants and bars

  • Indoor recreational activities such as bowling alleys and movie theatres

These openings and operations must follow Provincial operating guidelines to ensure compliance with current Provincial measures that support physical distancing and help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Ottawa Police

The Ottawa Police Service can 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 but still subject to self-monitoring.

Residents can call 613-236-1222 ext. 7502 for more information on the Quarantine Act.

Physical distancing

Even though Ottawa is now permitted to undertake stage two of the Province’s reopening plan, Ottawa Public Health is recommending all residents to remain vigilante and mindful in practicing physical distancing. This will help to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Be sure to keep your distance from others when you are in crowded areas such as malls, stores, beaches and parks. It is best to avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres from those around you who are not part of your immediate household or social circle. In situations where maintaining physical distancing may be difficult, wear a mask.

Effective July 15, 2020, the Temporary Mandatory Mask By-law requires everyone to wear a mask when in enclosed public spaces and when on transit property, including buses, trains, shelters and platforms.

Should you have questions about masks and where you should wear them, Ottawa Public Health has information and resources available on their website.

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.

5 ways to practice physical distancing

  • keep a distance of 2 meters when interacting with those outside of your household

  • avoid large gatherings

  • work from home, if possible

  • follow Provincial orders if visiting elderly friends or relatives

  • conduct meetings or visits virtually


When outside, avoid crowds and do your best to maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) from those around you. Passing someone on the sidewalk is not considered close contact or a significant risk for exposure to COVID-19.

Garage Sales

Garage sales and community garage sales are permitted now in Ottawa, however, buyers and sellers are still required to follow provincial orders and to wear masks when physical distancing is not possible.