Scientific evidence shows that wearing mas
ks helps to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Since some people who are infected with COVID-19 may not know they have the virus, wearing a mask or face covering protects them from spreading the virus to you and to the people around you. Your mask protects them.
For more information about the public health benefits of wearing masks, where to find them, and instructions on their use, visit Ottawa Public Health.
Where am I required to wear masks?
You are required to wear a mask when in an indoor public setting, including:
- Public transit (buses, trains, platforms, stations and shelters)
- Restaurants, cafés, cafeterias, banquet halls
- Retail establishments and shopping malls
- Places of worship
- Libraries, museums, art galleries, recreational facilities, bingo halls, cinemas, theatres, concert venues, special event venues, convention centres, or other similar entertainment, cultural, or leisure facilities
- Sports facilities, sports clubs, gyms, yoga studios, dance studios, and stadiums
- Hotels, motels, or short-term rental premises
- Hospitals and independent health facilities
- Temporary facilities, such as construction trailers and temporary sales offices
- Municipal facilities, including City Hall, community centres, cultural, arts or leisure centres, recreational or sporting facilities, parks buildings, client service centres or indoor parking facilities.
Where is a face mask NOT required?
The by-law does not apply to areas of buildings that are not publicly accessible, such as offices accessible only to employees, or areas accessible only to passholders or keyholders, or designated personnel.
The by-law does not apply to schools, childcare centres, day camps or the offices of professionals such as lawyers and accountants where clients visit areas not open to the general public.
Who is NOT required to wear a mask under this by-law?
The by-law exempts young children and those who are unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability that prevents them from safely wearing a mask. People who are unable to put on or remove their mask without the assistance of another person are also not required to wear a mask.
The by-law allows people to temporarily remove their mask for medical purposes, in order to eat, drink, swim, or receive services that require the removal of their mask.
Full details on who is exempt are available in the by-law.
How will the face covering by-law be enforced?
The City is taking an education-first approach to the by-law, asking people to comply and educating residents on how masks help us to protect one another.
Calling By-law and Regulatory Services should be a last resort.
When a warning is not deemed sufficient or for repeat offenders, enforcement of the by-law can include penalties through ticketing.
Do I have to show proof that I am exempt from the by-law?
No proof is required to show you are exempt from wearing a mask before entering an enclosed public space.
How do I report someone for not wearing a face covering?
Sometimes, what looks like a violation of the by-law is just a misunderstanding about what the by-law is asking us all to do. If anyone appears to be willfully contravening the by-law, residents should discuss the violation with the business operator first. After this, if residents wish to report that another resident or a local business is not in compliance with the By-law, they can do so by calling 3-1-1.
How long will this by-law be in effect?
The temporary by-law will be in effect until August 26th (or the next meeting of Council) and may be extended by City Council, based on the evolution of the pandemic.
Do I still need to stay 2 meters away from others if I am wearing a face mask?
Yes. Wearing a mask is not an alternative to physical distancing. Every effort should be made to keep a 2-metre distance even when wearing a mask.