OTTAWA -- The City of Ottawa is asking all dine-in restaurants and bars to temporarily close starting Tuesday to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Mayor Jim Watson told CTV News at Five that Ottawa Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches is accepting the recommendation from Ontario’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams for bars and restaurants to stop in-person dining.

Watson said starting Tuesday, “we’re asking bars and restaurants to close. They can still offer take-out or delivery options, if they have that capacity. The recommendation from the province is that bars and restaurants close, and we’re following that recommendation starting (Tuesday).”

Several Ottawa restaurants have already announced they’re closing.  Heart and Crown, Aulde Dubliner & Pour House are closing ahead of St. Patrick’s Day. Diamond Entertainment venues in Ottawa have also closed.  Ottawa restaurants Riviera, Mati Ottawa, Fauna and Bar Laurel are also closed.

Lone Star Texas Grill is closing its dine-in service, while take-out, online ordering and delivery service will continue.  Datsun and El Camino will continue to operate the takeout window.

Dr. Williams said Monday afternoon that Ontario health officials are recommending people avoid large gatherings of more than 50 people, and called for the closure of recreation programs, libraries, private schools, daycares and churches.

Dr. Williams says all bars and restaurants should close immediately, but the recommendation does not apply to takeout or delivery service.

“Some people would still probably benefit if they are in isolation to have that provision and make that helpful, so we are asking those things to stay.”

On Sunday, Dr. Etches urged residents to strengthen their social distancing measures and "not go out for non-essential reasons."