City to step up park patrols on Canada Day
Keep that party small and 'COVID-wise' this July 1, health officials plead
Ottawa police and bylaw officers will be out in force this Canada Day, patrolling the city's parks and beaches to make sure people respect the ongoing ban on large gatherings in Ontario.
"We're ready to intervene and encourage people to move on if they have to," said Anthony Di Monte, general manager of Ottawa's emergency and protective services, during a teleconference Monday.
The most Canadian thing we can do is continue to care and protect each other by being COVID-wise during our celebrations.- Dr. Vera Etches
Gatherings of more than 10 people are still banned in Ontario in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19.
Bylaw officers will be paying special attention to traditional Canada Day gathering spots like the ByWard Market, Di Monte said. While the focus will be on education, the city warned officers can still hand out hefty fines under the Ontario Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
"We are all aware of the resurgence of COVID-19 in some jurisdictions, and no one wants to see that happen here," said Di Monte. "We must all resolve to celebrate Canada Day responsibly this year."
Caution still key
The pandemic has already taken some of the fun out of Canada Day: The annual fireworks display over Parliament Hill is cancelled, and fireworks aren't allowed in public parks.
"The most Canadian thing we can do is continue to care and protect others by being <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVIDWise?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVIDWise</a> during Canada Day celebrations"<br>- <a href="https://twitter.com/VeraEtches?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@VeraEtches</a> <br>Read today's statement: <a href="https://t.co/p3YL4Z3bXz">https://t.co/p3YL4Z3bXz</a> <a href="https://t.co/nOGZgmCeZt">pic.twitter.com/nOGZgmCeZt</a>—@ottawahealth
Vera Etches, Ottawa's medical officer of health, urged people to keep the parties to their own neighbourhoods, and among close contacts.
"What has happened is we've pinned the virus down, we're holding it to a really low rate, [but] it can rise again if we let up our pressure," she said during Monday's call. "It's too early to change that cautious approach."
Ottawa Public Health recommends continuing to wash your hands regularly, and to stay outside if possible. People should remain two metres away from anyone outside their immediate "bubble," and wear a fabric mask when that's not possible. Anyone feeling sick should always stay home.
At gatherings like barbecues and pool parties, avoid sharing food, drinks and utensils.
"The most Canadian thing we can do is continue to care and protect each other by being COVID-wise during our celebrations," Etches said.