Ottawa

Ottawa to cap crowds at outdoor rinks, hills and trails

The City of Ottawa is instituting a 25-person limit at its outdoor rinks and other recreation venues.

No more than 25 people will be allowed on ice, in common areas

Skaters enjoy Ottawa's Rink of Dreams at city hall on Dec. 29, 2020. Masks became mandatory around city-run outdoor rinks the following evening, and the city will introduce limits on the number of people allowed on the ice later this week. (Brian Morris/CBC)

The City of Ottawa is instituting a 25-person limit at its outdoor rinks and other recreation venues.

On Tuesday, Ottawa's medical officer of health said large crowds at rinks, toboggan hills and ski trails are concerning because it's impossible to maintain a safe physical distance in such environments.

Dr. Vera Etches told reporters she would also be issuing an order for the owners and operators of private outdoor recreation venues to enforce the limit. It should take effect in the next day or two, she said.

This order will not affect the Rideau Canal Skateway once it opens because it's managed by the National Capital Commission (NCC), said Ottawa's general manager of emergency and protective services Anthony Di Monte. However, the NCC could introduce a similar rule, Di Monte said.

Etches said enforcement will focus on education at first, similar to when the city has introduced other pandemic  restrictions.

WATCH | Ottawa trying to prevent outdoor crowding:

Ottawa’s new outdoor COVID-19 restrictions meant to stop crowding at skating rinks, toboggan hills

CBC News Ottawa

2 months agoVideo
0:57
Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, says new capacity limits at outdoor recreation sites are meant to cut down on outdoor COVID-19 transmission, though enforcement efforts will focus on education for now. 0:57

The city is currently in the midst of another surge in COVID-19 infection as the provincewide lockdown limits indoor activities. That's forcing more people outdoors for fun and exercise, especially during the recent holiday break.

Last week the city made masks mandatory around its outdoor rinks, and highly recommends skaters wear them on the ice as well.

People crowd a hilltop at Ottawa's Mooney's Bay Park on Jan. 3, 2021. (Ashley Burke/CBC)

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