OTTAWA -- With the holiday shopping season underway, health officials in Ottawa and eastern Ontario recommend shopping online or going to malls alone during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ottawa Public Health and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit issued guidelines for shoppers planning to head to malls and stores to shop for gifts over the holiday season.

Ottawa Public Health says if possible consider shopping online.

If you plan to head out to malls or stores this holiday season, Ottawa Public Health recommends going alone or limiting the number of people you shop with.

Other tips:

  • Plan ahead: go during non-peak hours
  • Only shop with those in your household and/or your chosen social support person
  • Put your mask on before entering the store; sanitize your hands before handling your mask and after taking your mask off
  • Maintain a physical distance of two meters from other shoppers and minimize the number of stores you visit

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit says supporting local businesses while shopping for Christmas presents can be done safely. The health unit recommends minimizing the number of family members who shop together.

Other tips from the Eastern Ontario Health Unit include: 

  • If you want to shop with your family, take turns with different members of the family to go to the stores.
  • If seniors need help with their shopping, designate only one person to accompany them.