OTTAWA -- There will be no festivals or large events in Ottawa this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Jim Watson says based on a recommendation from Ottawa Public Health, the City of Ottawa is extending the suspension of all special events and festivals until August 31.

“We know this is going to be very disappointing for many residents who like to enjoy our summer festivals, but as I mentioned before we need to remain vigilant and keep everyone’s health and safety as our top priority.”

Several popular summer festivals in Ottawa already cancelled this year’s events, including TD Ottawa Jazz Festival and RBC Ottawa Bluesfest.

Ottawa’s general manager of Emergency Services Anthony Di Monte says with the City of Ottawa focusing on providing emergency services during the pandemic, it decided to suspend permits for all large events, festivals and cultural programs until the end of August.

“These permits are required for events of more than 500 people, so what this means is major events won’t be permitted in Ottawa before the end of August,” Di Monte said Wednesday.

“For events under 500 people they don’t necessarily require a permit, but organizers must adhere to the provincial regulations and under the current provincial order limits gatherings to a maximum of five people are still in effect.”