OTTAWA -- There are new restrictions on social gatherings, bars, restaurants, personal care services and businesses in Ottawa today, as a month-long shutdown begins.

The Ontario government imposed a province-wide "emergency brake" at 12:01 a.m. as a result of an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Under the rules, indoor gatherings are prohibited, while outdoor gatherings are capped at a maximum of five people.   Indoor and patio dining at bars and restaurants is prohibited, while gyms, fitness centres and personal care services must close.

"Obviously, we all have a part to play in this," said Mayor Jim Watson in an interview on CTV News at Six Friday evening.

"We consistently see people gathering in their backyard for parties and birthdays and barbecues and so on, that's just prolonging the agony that we're all going through."

The mayor says he supports Premier Doug Ford's decision to implement a shutdown in a bid to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

CTV News at Six anchor Christina Succi asked Watson if this could be the final lockdown or shutdown of the pandemic as COVID-19 vaccinations rollout.

"I very much hope so. We put our citizens through a lot. We're travelling down a road where we don't really have a roadmap, we haven't dealt with a pandemic and obviously there's been a lot of challenges on some of the fronts," said Watson.

"We're a resilient group of people here in the nation's capital, I have great confidence they will respect the rules so that we can get rid of this lockdown in four weeks, and quite frankly start to live a little bit with a better summer and better fall of this year."

The shutdown is in effect for Ottawa, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health and Renfrew County and District Public Health.

Here is a look at the shutdown rules for Ottawa:


  • Indoor social gatherings and organized public events are prohibited
  • Outdoor organized public events and social gatherings are allowed with a maximum of five-people, except for members of the same household
  • Weddings, funerals and religious services, rites or ceremonies limited to 15 per cent capacity per room indoors. Weddings, funerals and religious services outdoors are restricted to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distancing outdoors

Bars, restaurants and other food and drink establishments  

  • Indoor and outdoor dining is prohibited
  • Take-out, drive-thru and delivery service available

Retail and business capacity

  • 50 per cent capacity for supermarkets and other stores that primarily sell groceries, convenience stores, and pharmacies
  • 25 per cent capacity for all other retail, including discount and big box retailers, liquor stores, cannabis stores, hardware stores and garden stores
  • Shopping malls are allowed to open, with a maximum capacity of 25 per cent per store
  • Inside dining spaces at malls must close

Businesses not permitted to open

  • Personal care services, including hair salons and nail salons
  • Gyms and fitness centres, as well as outdoor classes
  • Amusement parks, water parks
  • Bathhouses and sex clubs
  • Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments
  • Concert venues, theatres and cinemas (includes drive in or drive through events)
  • Day camps
  • Horse racing (open for training only, no races or spectators)
  • Motorsports
  • Museums and cultural amenities
  • Tour and guide services
  • Zoos and aquariums (permitted to operate for the care of animals)

Outdoor recreational amenities open

  • Parks and recreational areas
  • Baseball diamonds
  • Batting cages
  • Soccer, football and sports fields
  • Tennis, platform tennis, table tennis and pickleball courts
  • Basketball courts
  • BMX parks
  • Skate parks
  • Frisbee golf locations
  • Cycling tracks and bike trails
  • Horse riding facilities
  • Shooting ranges, including those operated by rod and gun clubs
  • Ice rinks
  • Tobogganing hills
  • Snowmobile, cross country, dogsledding, ice-skating and snow-shoe trails
  • Playgrounds
  • Portions of parks or recreational areas containing outdoor fitness equipment
  • Golf courses and driving ranges

City of Ottawa services closed during shutdown

  • Ottawa's recreation and cultural facilities will close to the public, including recreation complexes, community centres, arenas, swimming pools, theatres, museums and art galleries
  • Outdoor refrigerated rinks will close: Rink of Dreams at Ottawa City Hall, Lansdowne Skating Court, Jim Tubman Chevrolet Rink, Ben Franklin Place

City of Ottawa counter services and other in-person service suspended or altered

The City will temporarily suspend in-person services effective Tuesday, April 5, including:

  • Ottawa City Hall and Ben Franklin Place (101 Centrepointe Drive) Client Service Centres and Building Code Services counters. Client Services Centres will suspend current in-person counter services, which will move to online delivery. Building Code Services will continue to provide courier, curbside, email and telephone alternate service delivery options.
  • The Provincial Offences Act courthouse, located at 100 Constellation Drive, will remain closed.
  • The Business Licensing Centre at 735 Industrial Avenue will remain open for drop-off of documents only and clients can call 613-580-2424 ext.12735 or email
  • The city's Central Archives' Reference Room at the James K. Bartleman Centre, located at 100 Tallwood Drive

Ottawa museums closed during the shutdown

  • Canadian War Museum
  • Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
  • Canada Aviation and Space Museum
  • Canada Science and Technology Museum
  • Canadian Museum of Nature
  • The Diefenbunker Museum
  • National Gallery of Canada
  • Ottawa Art Gallery