OTTAWA -- Ottawa Public Health is reminding residents the COVID-19 pandemic “isn’t over” and everyone needs to be “COVID wise.”

As Ottawa and eastern Ontario prepares to enter Stage 2 of reopening on Friday, the health unit says, “We’re not going back to normal anytime soon.”

"We need to become COVID wise and learn to live with the virus to find our new normal.”

On Friday, restaurant and bar patios, malls, salons and child care centres are allowed to open, with measures in place to encourage physical distancing and to limit the spread of COVID-19. Restrictions on gatherings will be expanded to 10 people from five people.

As of Tuesday, there were 74 active cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa. 

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches told Council it's important for everyone to be "COVID wise", and make informed decisions/assess risks.

COVID wise stands for:

W - Wear a mask

I - Isolate when sick

S - Stay two metres apart from others 

E - Exercise proper hand hygiene

On its website, Ottawa Public Health says as you go about your daily activities in a “smart way”, remember to “continue physical distancing” by staying two metres apart. When physical distancing is challenging or not possible, you’re encouraged to wear a cloth mask.

Ottawa Public Health looks at the “Least Safe Options”, activities to “Use Caution” and “Safe Options” for you and your family.

Safe Options

  • Going to less crowded beaches and parks
  • Doing gardening and yard work
  • Doing personal hobbies and crafts such as bird watching, stargazing, painting, journaling, sewing, knitting, reading and photography
  • Having picnics, playing catch, kicking a ball and flying a kite
  • Shopping online
  • Staying in touch with loved ones by phone, computer or drive-by visits while keeping physical distance

Use Caution


  • Pass quickly and try to give yourself space from others while walking, running, cycling and doing other outdoor activities
  • Spending time outdoors (including your backyard or driveway) with people who are not part of your household


  • Using public transportation
  • Using elevators and hallways in buildings or apartments
  • Shopping at grocery and retail stores and farmers’ markets
  • Going to medical appointments
  • Ordering take-out food
  • Letting service providers in your home for repairs, renovations, maintenance

Least Safe Options

Gathering in groups of more than five people who live outside of your household unit, when physical distancing is difficult. Some examples include:

  • Sharing meals or snacks (indoors or outdoors like at a BBQ or picnic)
  • Having guests come into your home or visiting friends or family in their home
  • Going to crowded places (especially indoors but also busy beaches and parks)
  • Participating in team or contact sports
  • Visiting family cottages and campgrounds if with more than one household

Ottawa Public Health