OTTAWA -- Ottawa's medical officer of health is imposing new rules on businesses remaining open during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order in a bid to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Among the new measures, businesses must assign one staff member to monitor and manage capacity limits in the establishment and verify compliance with physical distancing and masking in line-ups outside.

"This is our defining moment. It’s a moment where we’ve got to break through that wall," said Dr. Vera Etches on Friday.

"Vaccines are our fuel, and so are our behaviours. Those together will get us across the finish line."

The new rules, which take effect at 5 a.m. Saturday, includes increased reporting requirements for COVID-19 cases in the workplace.

A letter to businesses on the new measures states, "given the continued increase of COVID-19 infections in the city of Ottawa and increasing community transmission of variants of concern in Ontario, people must continue to remain vigilant and follow public health measures.

"All workplaces and businesses must operate in compliance with the applicable regulatory requirements."

Dr. Etches says the additional measures apply to all employers, businesses and organizations permitted to open during the stay-at-home order.

The new measures include:

  • Requirements for businesses to actively monitor and manage capacity limits in businesses, and physical distancing and masking in outdoor line-ups as people wait to access the business
  • At minimum, one staff person must be designated to monitor and manage the applicable capacity limit and verify compliance with the physical distancing and mask-wearing requirements of individuals in line-ups
  • Increased reporting requirements when two or more people test positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day interval in connection to the workplace
  • Ensuring that all employees are aware of any benefits and/or pay to which they may be entitled in the event that they must isolate
  • Documentation of how your workplace will do this, is required in your workplace COVID-19 safety plan