Last revised on September 17, 2020


As the community continues its gradual staged approach to reopening, (Stage 3), Ottawa Public Health (OPH) encourages you to go about your daily activities while protecting yourself and others. Please follow these recommended precautions and be COVIDWise 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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Be SocialWise

While some people are more vulnerable to complications from COVID-19, we are all susceptible of getting COVID-19  and spreading it to others. This is why we must be mindful of our risks when socializing lest we bring it home to our loved ones or  spread it to those in our social circle, colleagues and other acquaintances. 

Being Social Wise means you CAN BE SOCIAL, but you must limit your close contacts to your social/family bubble or circle to the same 10 (or less) people.  Small outdoor parties are wise, large house and/or cottage parties are unwise (and dangerous).   

We understand that the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is real.  But if you are Social Wise, the only thing you will miss out on is getting sick and getting others sick.  Don’t let anyone burst your bubble.  Wear a mask in enclosed public placesenclosed common areas of multi-unit residential buildings and in certain outdoor public spaces and outdoors when physical distancing is difficult, isolate yourself when you are sick, stay two metres away from those not in your social circle and exercise proper hand hygiene. 

We can still visit with our friends and loved ones, but we have to do so in a way that reduces the risk for transmission. Remember, people can be infectious without any symptoms.

To protect yourself and others, be “Social Wise.” This means:

  • wearing a mask indoors, in enclosed common areas of multi-unit residential buildings and in designated outdoor areas and when you can’t physically distance. 
  • limiting the number of people you have in your backyard or at the cottage.
  • planning for how you will maintain distancing among households and their social circles, avoiding handshakes and hugs to maintain physical distancing and having your mask and hand sanitizer with you – consider them as valuable as your wallet and cell phone.
  • downloading the COVID Alert app, a joint Federal-Provincial initiative that will help alert users of a potential exposure to COVID-19.
  • leaving any situation if you’re uncomfortable. And if you’re sick, please stay home.

We can still be social – we just have to do things a little differently. Be Social Wise and assess the risk of your activities.

Three women wearing masks. The words appear below them in pink.Partying during COVID-19? 

1. Plan to have the party outdoors

The risk of transmission is lower outside. If you have a party indoors, keep the windows open and don’t use fans because the air circulated by fans can further spread the virus. Stay two metres away from people who are not in your social/family bubble (your bubble = 10 or less people). 

2. Make it short (and after supper)

A shorter party = less risk of transmission, and that’s good. Having friends over for supper complicates things and increases the chance of sharing items and breaking the two metre rule when eating at the same table. You also need to remove your mask to eat and drink

3. Have a smaller party

Fewer people = fewer risks of COVID-19 transmission.

4. Prepare your “survival kit”: disinfectant wipes or cloth and soapy water

Before your guests arrive, clean surfaces that are often touched (doorknobs, light switches, table, bathroom, etc.)

5. Make sure there is access to water and soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizers (ie: Purell)

For water, the hose in your yard is an option or you can use a water container that has a faucet.

6. Ask your guests to wash their hands when they arrive and when they leave.

Make a point to tell you guest ahead of time that they should wash their hands.

7. Set aside a bathroom for your guests, if possible

Prepare a poster that reminds your guests to wash their hands before and after using the toilet.

8. Have masks on hand for people who don’t bring their own

Give your guests masks and remind them that even with a mask on, it is important to stay two metres away from each other.

9. Make a list of your guests

Ottawa Public Health will ask you for the list if it is later determined that one of your guests had COVID-19.

10. Be the boss of the party

Tell your guests ahead of time that they should stay home if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 and that you are taking steps to lower the risk of transmitting the virus.

Visit our party safe page for more party tips.

Thanks to Santé Montréal for sharing their Party Safe tips with us!


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