Businesses and Workplaces

Automated translation by Google akhbaar somali kuqoran
المعلومات المكتوبة باللغة العربية

Orange status

 On Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., Ottawa moved back to the Orange-Restrict zone of the province's COVID-19 response framework. This impacts organized events, establishments, facilities, personal care services and social gatherings. We are updating our web pages to reflect the new provincial measures. Read the province's news release.


Last updated on February 22, 2021


  1. Workplace COVID-19 Measures
  2. Outdoor Recreation Amenity Class Order Section 22
  3. FAQ – Section 22 Class Order February 16, 2021
  4. Letter of Instructions (LOI) issued by Dr. Vera Etches (pdf - 204 KB)
    • LOI summary English/French, English/العربية (Arabic)
    • This letter outlines public health measures intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These instructions are additional to measures under current Provincial legislation and focuses on workplace safety, physical distancing, masking, and capacity limits. The instructions in the LOI are effective December 23, 2020 at 12:01 AM.

For information on regulatory restrictions in place for the regions of Ontario and the City of Ottawa, please see the Government of Ontario COVID-19 response framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open and the City of Ottawa Provincial and City Rules
For each zone in the Ontario COVID-19 response framework, there are different public health and workplace safety measures for businesses and organizations. More information on what each zone means regarding the provincial restrictions.

On this page:

Adapting your business for COVID-19

Plan for the potential impact of COVID-19 in your workplace by considering the following actions:

  • Identify possible work-related exposure and health risks to your employees and how to reduce these risks.
  • Prepare for possible increased numbers of employee absences due to illness in employees and their family members and/or dismissals of early childhood programs and schools.
  • Explore the flexibility of policies and practices, such as teleworking arrangements, flexible hours, staggering start times, use of email and teleconferencing. 
  • Establish a process for ongoing communication with employees and business partners.
  • Develop a contingency and business continuity plan

Develop your COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan – new requirement as of Nov 2020 

This safety plan must:

  • Describe measures/procedures that have been or will be implemented in the business, place, facility or establishment to reduce spread of COVID-19.
  • Include measures for screening, physical distancing, masks, cleaning, disinfecting and personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Be in writing and made available to any person for review on request.
  • Be posted in a visible place to come to the attention of those working or attending the location.
What do I do if my employee is being tested for COVID-19 OR being told to self-isolate by Ottawa Public Health?

Unless OPH has contacted you with specific instructions, you are not required to take any additional action at this time.

Your employee who is waiting for test results will be instructed to self-isolate at home and should not go to work.

Your employee may provide you with a general sick note prepared by OPH for individuals needing to self-isolate at home. Please respect this public health guidance as we continue to contain spread of the virus locally.

The length of your employee’s self-isolation period*will vary depending upon their level of risk, refer to the OPH Tested, What Now? handout. Some examples include whether they:

  • Receive a positive or negative test result
  • Are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
  • Are identified as a high-risk contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19
  • Are identified as a household contact of a child or youth attending school or daycare
  • Have travelled outside the country

*Self-isolation requirements for residents of Ottawa may differ from those in other health units. Health care workers have different criteria for discontinuing self-isolation.

For more information about discontinuing self-isolation in these and other scenarios, please review the Frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 Order for Self-Isolation and Tested for COVID-19.

What are my responsibilities if one of my employees tests positive for COVID-19?

As an employer, OPH recommends that you:

  • Maintain confidentiality of your employee’s personal health information
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that may have been touched by the employee who tests positive for COVID-19 as soon as possible
  • Support employees who need to be absent from work due to illness or who have been identified as a high-risk contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • Remain COVID Wise
  • Review and make use of Public Health Ontario’s resource on Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings – COVID-19

Your employee who tested positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by Ottawa Public Health. They will be asked to identify anyone with whom they had close contact during the time from 2 days (48 hours) before they developed symptoms until they started self-isolation. OPH will connect with the high-risk contacts (someone exposed to a person diagnosed with COVID-19) of the individual who tested positive. OPH staff will also guide your employee through their self-isolation period.

Public Health staff will determine if the individual posed any additional risk to the workplace than what exists in the general community and take action from there.

Public Health will only disclose a positive case to an employer if it is necessary to manage the exposure risk to others.

If you receive questions from your employees, please refer them to novel coronavirus COVID-19 webpage for more information.


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Being COVID Wise

Being COVID Wise is how we will be able to resume economic and social activities while COVID-19 is still in our community. Information and resources for businesses are available to help meet current regulations and adapt your workplace to be COVID Wise. As a workplace and business, being COVID Wise will help keep both customers and employees safer during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Thank you so much for your hard work and efforts to help keep our community healthy! 

In a workplace setting, being COVID Wise means: 

  • Posting signage to remind everyone about physical distancing and wearing a mask
  • Following the mandatory mask bylaw 
  • Ensuring employees wear a mask whenever they cannot maintain 2 metre distance (including in break rooms and non-public spaces) 
  • Encouraging customers wear a mask in outdoor settings if they cannot maintain 2 metre distance  
  • Screening all employees for symptoms of COVID-19 before each shift and ensuring they stay home if they have symptoms or feel unwell 
  • Changing processes and/or using visible markers to ensure 2 metre physical distancing
  • Reminding employees and customers to maintain physical distance of 2 metres (six feet) at all times, and as much as possible
  • Providing hand sanitizer or hand washing stations for customers and employees 
  • Employees are informed/trained on the importance of all these measures

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An illustrated mask  Wear a mask

In a workplace setting, being COVID Wise about masks means: for more information. 

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An illustration of a person staying home when sick  Isolate yourself when you're sick

To ensure employees are well and fit for work:

  • Do not permit employees to come to work if they have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If employees develop symptoms while at work, they should notify their supervisor and return home. If symptoms are life-threatening, call 9-1-1.
  • Employees with symptoms should visit our  COVID-19 webpage for the latest guidance on next steps to take. There is currently no requirement for an asymptomatic employee to be tested before starting work.
  • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and follow the Self-Isolation Instructions for Novel Coronavirus to reduce the spread.

Encourage customers to do their own health assessment and prevent entry into your establishment if they have symptoms by posting signage at your entrance. 

Encourage your customers and employees to download the COVID Alert app today to protect themselves and others. The app can let people know of possible exposures before any symptoms appear.

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Two illustrated people with a two metre double ended arrow between them  Stay two metres (six feet) apart from others

Develop a physical distancing plan. Think about how you will maintain distance between customers and employees. Post directional signage to support your plan throughout your business and at the entrance.

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an illustration of hands being washed  Exercise proper hand hygiene

  • Display posters promoting hand-washing and respiratory hygiene
  • Businesses are required to make alcohol-based hand rub available at all entrances and exits as part of the Temporary Mandatory Mask By-law.
  • Follow Public Health Ontario cleaning guidance to keep workplaces clean and hygienic.  Increase frequency of cleaning high-touch surfaces such as elevator buttons, door handles keyboards, mouse, phones, desks, computers, seating areas, lunch tables, kitchens, washrooms, etc.

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All essential COVID Wise signage and resources


Additional resources to promote public health measures:

Additional resources are available on our multilingual web page.

Posters – Outdoor Recreation Amenity Class Order Section 22

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Resources for employees and training

In a workplace setting, being COVID Wise means employees are informed on the importance of and how to implement all health and safety measures.

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Sector specific operational guidance and resources

The Government of Ontario has programs and supports available to help your business recover from the impacts of COVID-19. To learn more about these programs, visit the Government of Ontario website.

Business / Sector Guidance Resources
Arts and Culture


Construction and Manufacturing


Film & Television  
Food establishments
Meeting and Event Spaces



Personal Service Settings



Places of Worship
Retail stores 


Sports and Recreation 

Special Events


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COVID-19 Update

Contact Information

Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 telephone line

  • Monday to Friday, from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm
  • Weekends, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Translation is available in multiple languages
  • Telephone: 613-580-6744 follow the prompts to the COVID-19 telephone line
  • TTY: 613-580-9656

Emergency Services

  • If you are in distress (e.g., significant trouble breathing, chest pain, fainting, or have a significant worsening of any chronic disease symptoms), do not go to the Assessment Centre or a COVID-19 Care clinic. Go to the nearest Emergency Department or call 9-1-1.

See someone not respecting COVID-19 rules?

How to access help during COVID-19

  • 211 Ontario can help you find financial and social support during COVID-19
  • Telephone: 2-1-1

Related Information



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