OTTAWA -- Hockey teams in Ottawa have been told not to lace up the skates and take to the ice at rinks outside of the capital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ontario Government's decision to move Ottawa back to a modified Stage 2 means no games or scrimmages at Ottawa rinks. Teams can hold practices and skills development with 10 people or fewer on the ice.

In a memo Thursday night, Hockey Eastern Ontario says it supports the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Leeds Grenville and Lanark Health Unit and Renfrew County and District Health Unit's direction that "strongly discourages" Ottawa-based teams and programs from seeking to rent ice in facilities outside of Ottawa.

Speaking on Newstalk 580 CFRA's Ottawa Now with guest host Graham Richardson, Hockey Eastern Ontario senior operations manager Jeff Baker said it's important all teams follow the COVID-19 restrictions.

"We're strongly encouraging teams not to travel," said Baker, noting health officials have urged all residents to limit non-essential travel to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Baker says teams were allowed to have scrimmages and practices before Ottawa moved back to a modified Stage 2 last week. Teams not based in Ottawa are allowed to continue with scrimmages and practices, but no body-checking is allowed.

Hockey Eastern Ontario is the governing body for minor hockey in eastern Ontario, including Ottawa.

Several City of Ottawa based hockey programs have temporarily halted their programs due to the move to a modified Stage 2.

The SouthEnd Minor Hockey Association has suspended hockey due to the COVID-19 restrictions.  The Nepean Minor Hockey Association, the West End Hockey League and the City of Ottawa's Ringette Association have also paused the fall season.