December 17th

Ottawa Public Health announces capacity limits and additional public health measures

Ottawa – Ottawa Public Health announced today that, in response to rapidly increasing transmission of COVID-19 in Ottawa and the increased transmissibility of Omicron, it is taking additional and immediate action to limit further spread of the virus to protect residents and reduce the impact on our health care resources and essential services. These actions are detailed in a Letter of Instruction from Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa Public Health’s Medical Officer of Health. The instructions are effective Monday, December 20 at 12:01 am.

The enhanced measures include:

  • Indoor capacity is limited to 50% or less if needed to maintain at least two metres between people 
  • Capacity and distancing requirements are applicable regardless of whether the establishment checks proof of vaccination
  • Signage must be posted in a conspicuous location, visible to the public, that states the capacity limits

These measures apply to a broad range of establishments, including those below. A full list is in the Letter of Instruction.

  • Meeting and event spaces, including conference centres or convention centres
  • Restaurants, bars, and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities
  • Personal care services, such as hair salons and barbershops, manicure and pedicure salons, aesthetician services, piercing services, tanning salons, spas, and tattoo studios
  • Indoor recreational amenities and indoor facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities, including areas for spectators within those facilities 
  • Indoor clubhouses affiliated with outdoor recreational amenities
  • Indoor concert venues, theatres, and cinemas
  • Museums, galleries, and similar attractions
  • Casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming establishments
  • Indoor fairs, rural exhibitions, festivals, and similar events
  • Faith-based organizations and places of worship 

Establishments that serve food or beverages must follow these additional regulations:

  • Patrons must be seated at all times when eating or drinking
  • No more than six people seated per table

In addition to the regulations outlined in the Letter of Instruction, Ottawa Public Health also strongly recommends these measures:

Ottawa is in a much better position than in March of 2020 when we faced the initial surge of COVID-19, with an unimmunized population and incomplete knowledge of all the measures possible to limit transmission. Immunity is building effectively through our vaccination efforts but right now these enhanced measures are essential to protect the health of all Ottawa residents and our health care system.

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