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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 10 people are legally prohibited, it is imperative that we all follow recommendations for physical 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.

The Province of Ontario has permitted Ottawa to move to the stage two of the provincial reopening framework, which included the following allowances

  • Personal-care services businesses, such as barbers and hairdressers, to open for services – with restrictions
  • Patio for bar and restaurant establishments
  • Opening of indoor malls

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

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 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.

We simply recommend that when you are in malls, stores, beaches and parks that you make sure to avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres from those around you who are not part of your immediate household. In situations where maintaining physical distancing may be difficult, it is recommended to wear a cloth mask.

Please note: You must wear cloth masks when using OC Transpo transit starting June 15.

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 10

The Ontario government has changed the emergency order to allow gatherings of no more than 10 people, with the exception of private households with 10 people or more.

5 ways to practice 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
  • 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

Garage sales are permitted now in Ottawa. However, buyers and sellers are still required to limit groups to no more than 10 and to wear masks when physical distancing is not possible.

Please note community garage sales remain prohibited at this time as they are considered special events.