Ottawa moves back in to red-restrict COVID-19 protocols

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

OTTAWA – As numbers climb in both new cases and in incidence rate, the provincial government will move Ottawa in to the Red-Control level starting at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow (March 19).

There are several subtle differences between the city’s previous Orange-Control level and the coming Red-Control. Here’s what you need to know.

Indoor permitted social gatherings will drop from 10 people to five people. Outdoor gatherings will remain at 25 people.

Restaurant, bars and event spaces will lower from a permitted 50 indoor limit to a limit of 10 indoors. Live music will no longer be permitted as well.

Recreation events will also have new limits. Cardio and weight rooms will drop from an allowable amount of 50 to 10 people. Team sports and scrimmages will no longer be allowed but drills and practices will still be permitted.

Retail stores will be allowed to remain open but must have screening in place and capacity limits.

“As Ottawa transitions to the provincial Red-Control status, the city will continue to offer many of the same recreation services with reduced capacities,” city staff released in a statement today (March 18). “The city’s counter service operations will remain unchanged from the previous status.”

 Impacted city recreation activities

Three metres of physical distancing will continue to be required in weight and cardio rooms. Public skating, fitness and sport activities by reservation will continue with the reduced 10-person capacity. Swimming pool capacities continue to be significantly reduced to support physical distancing between swimmers.

In addition, this more restrictive status does not permit the playing of team sports or scrimmages and only training activities are permitted. As a result, team sporting activities, like volleyball, hockey, and basketball, will be limited to training and drills, while respecting physical distancing. Sports that allow for physical distancing and involve doubles play only, like pickleball and badminton, will be permitted.

Public swimming, lane swims and select fitness activities continue

Make a reservation up to two days in advance for swimming, weight and cardio rooms and select sport activities. Visit to view schedules and activity offerings at facilities that are open.

Outdoor refrigerated rinks – weather permitting

Skating on the outdoor refrigerated rinks will continue by reservation only, with a maximum capacity of 25 skaters per session.

Cultural programs continue

Select cultural programs continue to run by reservation only at Nepean Visual Arts Centre and Shenkman Arts Centre with the reduced 10-person capacity.

Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery continue to operate with reduced hours and physical distancing measures in place. Corridor 45|75 at Rideau Station is open daily.

Facility rentals – new capacity restrictions

Select city rental spaces will be available to accommodate up to a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, provided the space allows for adequate physical distancing of at least two metres.

In-person counter services continue

The city’s by-appointment counter services will remain unchanged from the previous provincial framework status. These services include:

  • Service Ottawa Client Service Centres and Building Code Service counters at City Hall and Ben Franklin Place
  • The Business Licensing Centre at 735 Industrial Ave.
  • The city’s Central Archives’ Reference Room at the James K. Bartleman Centre, located at 100 Tallwood Dr.
  • Employment and Social Services and Rent Supplement Program offices provide in-person service by appointment only and counter services are available between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Ottawa Public Library branches

Thirty-one of the Ottawa Public Library’s 33 branches are currently open. In addition to library material holds pickup and returns, 28 of those branches are offering in-person services, such as: browsing of the collection, use of public computers by appointment, reading suggestions, and card registration and renewals. Capacity is limited.

Three branches are offering contactless holds pickup and returns. Visit for the latest service updates, access to digital resources and requests for library items.

For more information on city programs and services, visit or call 311 (TTY: 613-580-2401).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email