Last revised on September 30, 2020

Be COVID wise

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) encourages you to go about your daily activities while protecting yourself and others. Please follow these recommended precautions and be COVID Wise to help keep COVID-19 under control.

W – Wear a mask or face covering where required, or when you cannot maintain a physical distance of two metres (six feet).

I – Isolate yourself from others when you are sick (and get tested promptly if you have COVID-like symptoms).

S – Stay two metres (six feet) apart from those outside your household.

E – Exercise proper hand hygiene; wash your hands regularly or use sanitizer especially before touching your face.

Reducing the risk

Certain groups are at a higher risk (older adults, people with weakened immune systems or chronic health conditions) and should take extra precautions. Practice physical distancing by staying two metres (six feet) apart from others. Wearing a mask when you are in indoor public spaces, enclosed common areas of multi-unit residential buildings and in certain outdoor public spaces is now a mandatory requirement under By-law 2020-186. Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Limit the spread of germs by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or cough into your upper sleeve or arm, not your hand. Activities have high to low levels of risk when it comes to spreading the virus. Use this table to help choose your activities as we work to keep the virus under control. 

icon of a red circle with an x in the middleLeast safe options

Gathering indoors or outdoors with those outside your household especially when physical distancing is difficult. Some examples include:

  • Sharing food or drinks
  • Having guests inside your home or visiting friends or family inside their home
  • Going to crowded places
  • Visiting cottages and campgrounds with others outside your household

icon of an orange triangle with an exclamation mark in the middleUse caution

Wear a mask or face covering when you are in indoor public places, enclosed common areas of multi-unit residential buildings and in certain outdoor public spaces and when it is difficult or not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) from others. 


  • Spending time outdoors (including your backyard or driveway) with people who are not part of your household
  • Exercising outdoors in potentially busy areas during popular times (e.g. shared pathways, parks in the evenings and on weekends)
  • Using public transportation including buses, light rail, transit, taxis and ride sharing
  • Eating at a patio restaurant (please limit group size per table – preferably from your own household)


  • Using elevators and hallways in buildings, malls or apartments 
  • Shopping at grocery and retail stores and farmers' markets.
  • Going to the businesses that offer personal services (e.g. salons/barbers, tattoo parlours, massage clinics) or medical appointments
  • Picking up take-out food orders and other in-store pickups
  • Having service providers in your home for repairs, renovations, maintenance, etc.
  • Eating at a restaurant (please limit group size per table – preferably from your own household).

icon of a green circle with a check mark in the middleSafer options

Doing activities either alone or with members of your household AND maintaining a physical distance of at least  2 metres (6 feet) from others such as:

  • Golfing, playing tennis, playing catch, kicking a ball, flying a kite, gardening
  • Having a picnic or sitting in a quiet park or other outdoor space
  • Doing personal hobbies and crafts such as bird watching, stargazing, painting, journaling, sewing, knitting and reading
  • Shopping online with home delivery or curbside pickup
  • Staying in touch with friends and loved ones virtually or with drive-by visits 

icon of people talking on a telephoneTake care of yourself

Take care of yourself. It’s OK to NOT be OK. Help is available and we encourage you to reach out to the Distress Centre of Ottawa to connect with someone at 613-238-3311.

We are all in this together.

For more information, visit:

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Image of a red heart and a mask with OPH logo on it


Public spaces are reopening. Mandatory masks can help reduce transmission COVID-19. Remember to be COVID Kind as some people are medically exempt from wearing masks or are adjusting.


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