OTTAWA -- Attention shoppers: the city of Ottawa is once again offering free parking at three downtown parking garages.

Mayor Jim Watson announced the city is reinstating free parking for up to 30 minutes at two city-run parking lots in the ByWard Market and the parking lot at Ottawa City Hall.

Watson says the initiative is to support curbside pickup for the hard-hit downtown businesses and restaurants.

The city quietly started offering 30 minutes of free parking at the two municipal lots in the ByWard Market and at Ottawa City Hall in February to help support businesses during the pandemic. The offer ended on March 31, just over a week ago.

All non-essential businesses and restaurants are closed, with only curbside pick-up, takeout and delivery options available.

Ottawa's program manager of high economic impact programs Cindy VanBuskirk told CTV News Ottawa last month that the city received a request from the ByWard Market BIA and the Ottawa Coalition of BIAs to consider an area specific or city-wide temporary parking measures to provide 15-minutes of complimentary parking at all on-street parking areas.

"It is important to note that parking garage users staying longer than 30-minutes will be responsible to pay the full length of stay as the temporary accommodation is intended to support quick customer curbside pick-up/take-out at retail stores and restaurants," said VanBuskirk.