What is physical distancing?

In order to decrease transmission of COVID-19 in Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health is now recommending that all residents of Ottawa practice physical distancing. Physical distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of people outside your household that you interact with and ensuring that whenever possible the people you interact with remain more than 2 metres (6 feet) away. This will help to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

With more cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Ottawa, including confirmation of community spread, we are urging that everyone either practice physical distancing or self-isolate if applicable.

Each of our efforts are needed as a community. The actions you take will affect not only you, but your loved ones and the most vulnerable people in our community. By acting now, you may be saving lives – the life of a family member, a neighbour, a friend, or a coworker.

In order to decrease transmission of COVID-19 in Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health is now recommending that all residents of Ottawa practice physical distancing.

For individuals with respiratory symptoms

The priority of the healthcare system is being able to test those who are most in need. Not everyone requires testing. For more information, visit our COVID-19 testing criteria page.

  • You must self-isolate for 14 days, or 24 hours after symptoms have FULLY resolved, whichever is longer.
  • You must not leave your home if you have respiratory symptoms.
  • If your symptoms are worsening to a point where you cannot manage at home, please visit your nearest emergency department.

For individuals who are returning from travel

  • The Federal Quarantine Act requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. Leaving your property to go for a walk is not permitted under the Quarantine Order, issued on March 25, 2020.
  • Do not go to community settings including the grocery store. If you need groceries or other essential items, have a family member, friend or neighbour do this for you and leave items at the door.
  • If you have respiratory symptoms, follow guidance in the section above.

For ALL Ottawa residents (except those listed above)

  • Practice physical distancing – Avoid all non-essential trips in the community.
  • Household contacts (people you live with) do not need to distance from each other unless they are sick, or have travelled within the past 14 days.
  • Limit group gatherings.
  • Connect via phone, video chat, or social media instead of in person.
  • Talk to your employer about working from home (if possible).
  • Avoid visiting elderly friends or relatives unless the visit is essential.
  • Keep windows down for essential community trips via taxi or rideshares.
  • You can go outside for a walk, play catch/kick a ball, throw a football, fly a kite, sit on a blanket, grass or lawn chair, or exercise/stretch on a yoga mat, but not in a class (learn more on the new guidelines for the use of City parks). While outside, avoid spitting in public, avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) from those around you. Make an effort to step-aside, or pass others quickly and courteously on sidewalks. Passing someone on the sidewalk is not considered close contact or a significant risk for exposure to COVID-19.

For more information on testing and care for COVID-19, and how to practice physical distancing,
visit our website: OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus. Information on financial and social supports is available on Ottawa.ca.

Remember to check in with others by phone or other technology. Check in with yourself. It’s ok not to be ok, and I encourage you to reach out to the Distress Centre of Ottawa to connect with someone at 613-238-3311 if you need help or are having trouble coping.

This is a difficult and challenging time for everyone. I’d like to thank you for your cooperation with physical
distancing from others and thank people who are helping each other. Supporting neighbours is essential for us to make it through this pandemic.

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