March 18


City staff will be tabling an interim property tax payment grace period and new 2020 property tax deferral for Council approval on March 25, or at the earliest available opportunity, that will help small businesses and residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grace period for interim property tax payment

With the interim property taxes mailed out in mid-February, the City will grant property owners a grace period for payment – late payment penalty will not be applied during the current March 19 deadline to Wednesday, April 15, 2020. The interim property tax bill covers 50 per cent of the entire property tax bill.

Property owners who are enrolled in the pre-authorization debit plan are not affected by the grace period and requires no action on their part.

New 2020 Interim Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program

In response to the financial impact of the uncertainty of this evolving COVID-19 pandemic, a new 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral program is being developed to assist affected small businesses with an assessed property value of up to $ 2.5 million, as well as residents. The program will extend the interim property and final property tax deadlines of March 19 and June 18, respectively, to Friday, October 30, 2020.

To qualify, an account would need to have been paid up-to-date before the interim tax installment.

The application and more details on the program and other qualifying criteria will be available on after it has been approved by Council – which convenes on March 25.

Water service disconnections suspended

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has suspended all water disconnections due to non-payment until further notice.

Existing deferral and grant programs

In addition to the COVID-19 program, the City has existing deferral and grant programs in place.

Deferral of property taxes and water bills for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities

The City has existing property tax and water bill deferral programs for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. Under these programs, eligible homeowners can apply for partial or full deferral of their annual property taxes and a deferral of their water utility bills.

Applying for these programs can be done online via email. Details of the program and eligibility is available on

Farm Grant Program

This relief program for hard working farmers allows eligible farm property owners to move the deadline of the final property tax payment to December 8, 2020. Details of eligibility and the program can be found on

Payment options

Residents have several payment options for property tax and water bills that can be done from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

  • My Service Ottawa portal
  • Telephone and online banking through their financial institution
  • Debit or credit payment online at
  • Pre-authorized debit
  • Mail


“Dear residents of the City of Ottawa,

The past week has seen a very quick escalation from all levels of government in response to the COVID-19 situation. I want to publicly respond to a few common questions and concerns to help provide clarity on our approach at the local level.

As a reminder, please visit our website for local information about COVID-19, including assessment and testing in Ottawa, self-isolation and social distancing. Due to high call volumes please try to not call unless you have read the website first.

Testing and Assessment

The present goals of testing for COVID-19 are to detect the virus in our community and also limit the spread of the virus.  Lab testing helps us estimate cases in the community. For each laboratory-confirmed case related to travel, there is a likelihood that at least an equal number of travel-related cases are undetected.  Based on current confirmed cases, whose onset of illness is in the past, there could potentially be anywhere between 200 to 1000 undetected causes in the community now. We do not yet have laboratory-confirmed community spread, though we do see cases giving rise to cases in close contacts.

With this information, I am communicating to all people in Ottawa that we need to act as if the virus is here, circulating in our community.

The testing isn’t able to track down each case in our community because the mild illness the majority of people experience is not distinguishable from common colds and we cannot test large numbers.  Having a COVID-19 test result or not does not change the actions that individuals in the community need to take – if ill with a respiratory illness, stay home – and for all of us, now is the time to limit our interactions with others as much as possible.

The current COVID-19 testing provides a pulse check and helps us make decisions about our next steps to control the spread of COVID-19. It also helps limit spread COVID-19 by the highest risk cases. Self-isolation and social distancing are effective strategies for slowing the spread at the community level.

Check our website to learn more about when to self-isolate and when to go for testing: You do not need a referral from Ottawa Public Health to get tested for COVID-19. At a high level:

  • If you are a return traveler (including travel to the United States of America) OR have MILD symptoms – you MUST self-isolate. Most people with MILD symptoms will recover at home with no issues. You are helping limit the spread of the virus by staying at home.
  • For now (this may change), our priority is to test people with escalating symptoms AND travel history within 14 days OR close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • We are also prioritizing ruling out COVID-19 in workers, such as health-care workers or Long-Term Care Homes.

In the future, the goals of COVID-19 testing are likely to shift towards being used to limit outbreaks in settings of high risk.  The focus of testing would turn to health care and essential workers, hospitalized patients, long-term care homes, correctional facilities and other situations where the result is helpful to direct public health actions.

Social Distancing

Social distancing refers to creating physical distance between ourselves so that we can limit the spread of the virus. Social distancing by all is IMPERATIVE to limit transmission in the community, to protect vulnerable populations and outbreaks in institutions. We must “flatten the curve” so we don’t see spikes in cases. By this, I mean that we want to slow down transmission of the virus and lessen the number of cases in the community that happen at the same time, so that our health system continues to work properly. Having a sharp increase of cases in a small timeframe will overload our healthcare resources and have more severe impacts on our community. Social distancing is important for everyone at this time, but especially important for our older adult community (55+). Do NOT gather in groups of 10 or more. Practice social distancing.

Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing. Check in with others by phone or other technology. Check in with yourself. It’s ok not to be ok. Please know that help is available, and we encourage you to reach out to Distress Centre of Ottawa to connect with someone at 613-238-3311 if needed.

Case Management and Privacy

We have received many questions from people who feel they are at risk, including many people expressing concern about being in the same location as someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who may have symptoms of COVID-19.

I would like to clarify a few points:

  • Given the transmission of COVID-19, we are all at risk. Social distancing, proper hand hygiene, not touching your face and self-isolation (when directed) are the best ways to reduce your personal risk at this time.
  • A close contact of a case of COVID-19, is someone who has lived with, provided care for, or spent longer periods of time with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.Case and contact management if a role of public health to help identify who may have been in close contact with a confirmed case. Ottawa Public Health will contact you directly if you have been identified as a close contact.
  • OPH works closely with each confirmed case of COVID-19 to create a list of close contacts that require follow-up. If you have been contacted by Ottawa Public Health, follow the advice provided to you by the nurse.
  • If you have not been contacted by Ottawa Public Health, please do not assume that you are a close contact. Continue to take social distancing and other precautions and,  if needed based on the guidance on, follow self-isolation or testing directions.

Regarding privacy, Ottawa Public Health will not comment about any specifics around an individual case of COVID-19. We encourage others to not pursue this information unless an individual issues their own statement to this effect. Ottawa Public Health will contact you directly if you are a close contact.

 The reportable information that we are required to share with the Ministry of Health:

  • Patient age and gender
  • Transmission (community, travel or close contact)
  • Status (self-isolating, hospitalized, etc.)

Fraud concerns

I have been made aware that certain residents have received a phone call asking for credit card information from Ottawa Public Health (OPH). OPH (or any health unit) will not ask you for credit card information. Do not give your credit card information out if you receive a call or message similar to this. Fraudulent activity during a situation like this is deplorable. I encourage you to report it to Ottawa Police Services.  


Thank you to all residents of the City of Ottawa for your ongoing patience and cooperation. We are all in this together, and we need everyone to do their part- whether providing an essential service or staying inside – to be able to slow the curve and protect our health system.

Dr. Vera Etches

Medical Officer of Health

Ottawa Public Health”

Latest posts

March 25

I hope everyone is staying safe, (virtually) connecting with family and friends, and taking care of their physical and mental health.

Yesterday Dr. Etches, head of Ottawa Public Health suggested “the use of the term “physical distancing” instead of “social distancing.” This language is beginning to be used around the world and is clearer about what we are recommending to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  We want residents to keep a physical distance of at least 2 metres from others, but not to disconnect socially.  It is very important during this time, that we maintain social connections to support our mental health; however, these social connections with people outside your household should be done through phone calls and other technology as much as possible.”

Reminder: now is not the time for visiting friends, hosting dinner parties, or gathering in groups. I understand that these are trying times, but the sooner we flatten the curve and reduce the spread of the virus, the sooner we can return to our normal lives.

City of Ottawa State of Emergency

Mayor Jim Watson today declared a State of Emergency for the City of Ottawa due to the spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa. This aligns with Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s announcement on Monday, March 23 that he is expanding Ontario’s state of emergency to shut down all non-essential services.

Declaring a state of emergency will help the City deploy its emergency operations and staff in a more nimble fashion. It will also enable a more flexible procurement process, which will help purchase equipment required by frontline workers and first responders as it becomes available in the coming weeks.

Ottawa Public Health now has laboratory confirmation of the community spread of COVID-19 in Ottawa. We are also starting to see cases among health care workers who have not traveled or been a close contact of a confirmed case. Ottawa Public Health recommends all residents practise physical (social) distancing or self-isolate, if applicable, to help stop the spread of the virus. Information about laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 is available on

Following the declaration, the City formally requested the Province of Ontario to give the City flexibility to manage movement of staff, to redeploy resources, to support essential services and to be adaptable as this situation continues to evolve rapidly.

This declaration follows the Premier’s order to shut down all non-essential services, which took effect this morning.

To view the list of essential workplaces that are still open, click here

Expansion of the Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program

Over the past week, the Finance Services Department has heard from residents, business owners, and Members of Council regarding the proposed Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program. In response, the Finance Services Department will be expanding the proposed criteria to include businesses with an assessed property value of up to $7.5M that have been financially affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The increased business assessed property value criteria will now cover 91% of all commercial properties in Ottawa, up from 76% at the $2.5M threshold.

To qualify, an account would need to have been paid up to date before the interim tax installment. The deferral application will be available online and would extend the interim (March 19) and final (June 18) tax due dates to October 30, 2020.

Water Utility Bill

Revenue Services is extending an interest free 30-day payment grace period for all unpaid water bills issued before April 1, 2020 and a 30-day due date extension, for all water bills issued between April 1, 2020 and October 30, 2020, providing residents with 47 days to pay their bill.

Pre-authorized debit payments for water bills issued before April 1, 2020 will be withdrawn on the regular due date and pre-authorized debit payments for water bills issued between April 1, 2020 and October 30, 2020 will be withdrawn on the extended due date.

Additionally, the City has extended the suspension of all water service disconnections until October 30, 2020.

The City has an established water utility bill deferral program to support low income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. More information on the program and how to apply can be found on

Outreach to Isolated Seniors

The Good Companions’ Seniors Centre Without Walls has expanded its services with a focus on outreach to vulnerable and isolated seniors and other populations. Emotional and practical support is provided via telephone. In addition, they have trained 20 agencies (32 staff) to do similar outreach calls through various programs.

Rural Ottawa Support Services is working with Good Companions to provide similar telephone outreach and practical supports to isolated seniors through their A Friendly Voice program, which does wellness calls connecting seniors to local services and programs.

Ottawa Community Housing has facilitated wellness check phone calls to approximately 2,700 residents, focusing on people identified on the Fire Evacuation List.

Food Security

Ottawa Food Bank is supporting the emergency food centres and are coordinating with other task force members to sort and deliver food where needed. Demand has increased by 30 per cent across community food banks. They are working with the Salvation Army to support distribution of food hampers offered by local restauranteurs. The City is providing facility space for safe storage of food hampers.

Meals on Wheels has been increasing offers of frozen food for seniors in the Ottawa area and connecting with Ottawa Food Bank to provide hamper supplies and deliveries. Since the COVID- 19 pandemic, they are delivering 100 fresh and 700 frozen meals daily. These services have ensured a supply of full dinners for those individuals in need.

Urgent Transportation

Working with other non-profit organizations, the Good Companions and Champlain Community Support Network are coordinating urgent transportation to medical appointments, assessment centres, and food centres/grocery stores for those with financial constraints, transportation difficulties, and/or health and mobility issues.

Services can be accessed by contacting Good Companions website or by telephone at 613-236- 0428.

Housing Supports for Vulnerable Residents

The Isolation Centre at the Routier Community Centre opened on Monday, March 23, 2020 to provide space for homeless single men and single women who need to self-isolate. The current capacity is 10 beds, with the ability to expand to 40 beds should the need arise. Supports for residents within the centre are being provided by Ottawa Inner City Health and Ottawa Public Health. Currently five residents have been referred to and are staying at the Centre.

Housing Services has secured a 29-room location to provide isolation space for families and youth, which is anticipated to open the week of April 1st.

Housing Services has also identified additional hotel rooms for families currently in the shelter and motel system to promote social distancing, and to increase access to cooking facilities.

Work is also underway with community partners to establish mechanisms to increase food security for families living in hotels/ motels that do not have adequate cooking facilities.

Rooming House Services is conducting visits to each licensed rooming house address, delivering resources from Ottawa Public Health on COVID-19. They are also working with the Parkdale Food Market to deliver 100 frozen meals and bread to rooming house tenants. Staff will continue to coordinate with restaurants and rooming house owners to address food insecurity.

Get the latest updates on COVID-19 from our Public Health Agencies: 

Updates from Ottawa Public Health on COVID-19

Updates from Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care on COVID-19

Updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada

Other Resources 

Telehealth Ontario

For medical advice, you may contact Telehealth Ontario, a free, confidential service. A Registered Nurse will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Telephone: 1-866-797-0000

Distress Centre of Ottawa & Region

Situations like COVID-19 can affect your mental health. Please reach out and ask for help, the Distress Centre of Ottawa & Region is available 24/7 to talk. 

Telephone: 613-238-3311

Note about our Office

Following the lead of the Ottawa Public Health, our office will be working remotely until further notice. Our team will continue to serve you through our social media channels, phone line, and e-mail. We will continue to support resident inquiries and we will be exploring alternative ways of engaging with the community instead of public events. 

Here's how you can continue to contact and engage with us: 

Email is the preferred method of contact for the quickest response. 

March 24

Because most cases are mild and undetected, Ottawa Public Health is urging everyone to practice social distancing. More information on social distancing for you and your family can be found on the Ottawa Public Health website.

Our efforts are needed as a community. The actions you take will affect not only you but your loved ones and our most vulnerable. While we appreciate that people are thinking of their loved ones, now is not the time to visit them in person. Luckily, we have technology on our side which enables us to communicate in other creative ways like video chats and group phone calls.

Now is also not the time for non-essential excursions. We are working to provide greater clarity on what we consider non-essential vs essential businesses here in Ottawa. People should not visit non-essential businesses including but not limited to clothing retail stores, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlours, gym and fitness facilities, banquet halls and conference centres.

Information sheet (available in multiple languages)

The Ministry of Health has developed an information sheet about the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to inform Ontarians about the virus, how they can protect themselves and what to do if they think they have contracted the 2019 novel coronavirus. The information sheet is available in multiple languages. Visit this link to find information in your preferred language!

Grocery and Delivery Services

(Thank you to Rockcliffe Park Residents Association for providing this list!)

Grocery Stores

Metro offers on-line ordering and delivery through Inabuggy.

Farm Boy restocks shelves daily and has lots of food, but does not offer delivery or online shopping.

Loblaws offers on-line ordering with express pick-up, ideally for seniors or those in isolation. Go to and sign in at the top of your screen with a PC ID (or create one). You then drive in to collect your bagged order for a small fee (from McArthur Ave location, 613 744-0705). Loblaws will also deliver your online order go to: and sign up.

Epicuria is open with slightly reduced hours (closed Sunday and Monday). They take telephone orders (613) 745-7356, online orders, arrange for store-front pick-up and deliver. At the shop, they will serve you and no longer let us serve ourselves.

Jacobsons is open daily, 613 746-6002 and offer online shopping too.

Muckleston & Brockwell are open 11:30 am daily, but closed Mondays. They welcome orders and can deliver to your car: 613-745-2244 or [email protected]

Nature’s Buzz has slightly reduced its hours: Mon to Sat 9-6 and Sun 11-5, 613 842 0280

Byward Fruit & Vegetable Market and Saslove’s Meat Market have teamed together to offer telephone shopping and delivery. Call Byward (613.241.6542) or Saslove’s (241.9266) or email [email protected] to place your order. They will put it together and phone you back for your payment by phone. Then, for a small fee, you get your order delivered.

Bread and Roses is open for take-out only and will close an hour earlier daily, 8 am – 6 pm. Online shopping is available.

Walmart offers online ordering and arranged free pick-up at its Train Yards location. Delivery costs $9.97 on a minimum $50 order, before taxes.

Ottawa Organics is an online-only service that provides organic fruit, vegetables and a lot more. Delivery to your home is on Fridays. Due to a high volume of orders, current order deadline is Monday, 9pm. This deadline is subject to change.

Online Delivery Services

Instacart – Delivery from Staples, Superstore, Walmart, Loblaws, Shopper’s Drug Mart and others.
Inabuggy – Delivery from Metro, Costco, Petsmart, Loblaws, M&M, Canadian Tire and others. Has an app too.

Seniors’-only shopping to reduce risk of exposure

Metro Beechwood, as of Sunday, March 22, offers Seniors’ Hour from 7 – 8 am daily (best to bring ID).

Loblaws (McArthur) offers Seniors’ (65+) Hour from 7 – 8 am daily (no ID required); also for disabled shoppers.

Hess’ Your Independent Grocer, 596 Montreal Rd. offers Seniors’ Hour 7 – 8am daily, with proof of ID being over 65.

Walmart (Trainyards) starting March 23, offers 7 – 8 am week-day shopping for seniors (65+), people with disabilities, and those with vulnerable health conditions.

Prescription deliveries

Guardian Drugs (Beechwood at Crichton) offers telephone prescription fulfillment (749.4444) and free delivery. Deliveries of store and over-the-counter items cost $5 for delivery on orders less than $20, unless you are also buying prescription drugs with the other items, in which case delivery is free. Wednesday is Seniors day (55+) offering a discount of 20% on store items.

The new Beechwood Whole Health Pharmacy at the Kavanaugh Building will fulfill prescriptions and deliver free: 613-842-7455 ask for Peter.

Costco Pharmacy Online takes prescription orders at, 24 hours a day. Your order will be delivered free to your home via Canada Post Expedited Parcel, which takes three to five business days. To register for this service, go to

Things to do!

Our friends from the Manor Park Community Association created a list of things to do to stay busy during social distancing, including podcasts and virtual museum tours, art projects and science experiments.

Visit this link for ideas:

March 22

COVID-19 Guidance for Multi-Unit Dwellings

What is COVID-19?
The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is known to cause infection in the respiratory system. Those who are infected with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms or may not know they have symptoms because they are similar to a cold or flu. Symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty breathing and pneumonia and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19.

Current evidence shows that the COVID-19 virus spreads from person-to-person through direct contact or over short distances by droplets that fall quickly to the ground and do not stay suspended in the air. This includes when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and through prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands. Temporary contamination of surfaces can occur from these droplets or from contaminated hands. At this time, there is no evidence that transmission of COVID-19 through ventilation systems takes place.

It is important to recognize that the COVID-19 situation is evolving very quickly. Please refer to to stay up-to-date on the latest information.

Reducing the Spread of COVID-19
We all have a role to play in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recommends that everyone take the following actions:

Reduce the spread of germs including the flu and COVID-19:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just cleaned your hands.
• Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand. Even if you do not have symptoms, it is recommended to self-isolate for 14 days if:

• You have travelled anywhere outside of Canada (including the United States of America).

  • You live with, provided care for, or spent extensive time with someone who has:
  • Tested positive for COVID-19, OR is suspected to have COVID-19, OR who has respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) that started within 14 days of travel outside of Canada.

For more information, visit OPH Self-Isolation webpage.

Practice social distancing by maintaining 2 metres (6 feet) from those around you, to limit the number of people you come into close contact with; for example:

• Avoid groups of people or crowds.

• Take precautions to maintain distance in shared spaces; for example:

o Avoid crowded elevators (wait for an empty one if you can).

o Avoid using the mail room or laundry room at the same time as other residents (keep to a small number at a time to maintain distance).

• Avoid visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing, hospices and other congregate care settings unless absolutely essential.

Visit the OPH social distancing webpage for other suggestions.

To encourage these precautions, we encourage landlords and property managers to post the attached social distancing signage, as well as the signage found on OPH’s website in different languages that address topics such as handwashing and cough etiquette.

Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing. Encourage residents to check in with others by phone or other technology. Check in with yourself. It’s ok not to be ok. Please know that help is available, and we encourage residents to reach out to the Distress Centre of Ottawa to connect with someone at 613-238-3311 if needed.

Additional recommendations for multi-unit dwellings

OPH recommends the following additional actions in multi-unit dwellings:

• Suspend all non-urgent inspections and repair work, if possible.
• Close all onsite recreational amenities and gathering spaces (e.g. party rooms, fitness facilities, pools), if possible.
• Encourage limited use of public areas for necessary outings and take additional precautions in shared spaces (e.g. lobbies, hallways, mail rooms, laundry rooms).

Take extra precautions to clean and disinfect surfaces as often as possible:
• Remember to clean surfaces first, then disinfect them.

• Ensure an adequate supply of water, soap, paper towels for cleaning and disinfectant for sanitizing in spaces such as laundry rooms.

• Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces often, at a minimum of twice a day (e.g. buzzer systems/kiosks, doorknobs, hand railing, light switches, elevator buttons, etc.) or as they become visibly soiled.

• Use an appropriate cleaner and disinfectant, as per manufacturer’s instructions.

• Remove items from shared spaces that may be hard to clean or disinfect (e.g. intricate lamps).

For additional cleaning information:
Please consult OPH’s cleaning and disinfection checklist and Public Health Ontario’s fact sheet on cleaning and disinfection for public settings for more information.

Supporting each other and our community
We understand that this is a challenging time, but measures like this are needed to ensure that the spread of COVID-19 in our community is limited.

COVID-19 Guidance for Retail Stores – Including Grocery Stores and Pharmacies

What is COVID-19?

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is known to cause infection in the respiratory system. Those who are infected with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms or may not know they have symptoms because they are similar to a cold or flu. Symptoms, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing and pneumonia, and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. For more information about COVID-19, visit

COVID-19 is most commonly spread person-to-person, from an infected person through:

• Respiratory droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
• Close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
• Touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands. There is evidence to suggest that, in the right conditions, COVID-19 could survive on surfaces for several days.

Reducing the spread:

To encourage these precautions, please put up the social distancing signage provided to you, as well as the signage found on OPH’s website in different languages that address the following topics:

• Handwashing
• Hand sanitizing
• Cough etiquette and other precautions
• Practising social distancing (ideally 2 metres)

Recommendations for Retail Stores – including Grocery Stores and Pharmacies
As cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is recommending that all stores that remain open should take the following actions:

Support and encourage behaviours to reduce the spread of germs
To reduce the spread of germs, OPH recommends that everyone:
• Wash their hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer
• Avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth unless they have just cleaned their hands
• Cover their cough and sneeze with a tissue or into their arm, not their hand
• Stay home if they are sick
• Avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care centres if they are sick
• Practice social distancing (2 metres or 6 feet apart)

Ensure Social Distancing
The practice of social distancing promotes everyone keeping a 2 metre (6 feet) distance from each other. In order to ensure social distancing, the following steps should be taken:

• Increase the space between employees and patrons at counters by using screens or barriers.
• Limit the number of occupants, including staff, in the store to allow for the maintenance of a 2 metre (6 foot) social distance.
o Ensure line management practices that requires 2 meters (6 feet) social distancing for any patrons waiting outside to enter the store.
• Consider placing markers on the floor at check-out aisles to ensure customers maintain a 2 metre (6 foot) distance from one another.
• Close any seated, dine-in area that may be in the store.
• No sampling product stations should be permitted.

Consider vulnerable populations
• Some businesses have begun a practice where they have dedicated the first hour of operation for customers from vulnerable populations, for customers over 65, or for those with a compromised immune system.
• Other practices for consideration include offering a pre-order/pick-up/delivery model to limit interactions. OPH has guidelines for these measures on our website.

Take extra precautions to clean and disinfect surfaces as often as possible
OPH recommends that grocery stores complete the following enhanced cleaning practices to support infection prevention and control, as COVID-19 is spread by droplets:

• Remember to clean surfaces first, then disinfect them.
• Consider disinfecting shopping carts as frequently as possible.
• Ensure an adequate supply of water, soap, paper towels for cleaning and disinfectants for sanitizing.
• Use only disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8- digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is approved for use in Canada.
• Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces at a minimum of twice a day (doorknobs, hand railing, light switches, etc.) and/or as they become visibly soiled.
• Use an appropriate cleaner and disinfectant, as per manufacturer’s instructions.
• Remove items that are hard to clean and disinfect.

For more information on cleaning and disinfecting, please consult OPH’s cleaning and disinfection checklist as well as the Public Health Ontario guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting non-healthcare settings.

Provide patrons access to hand hygiene stations and supplies
• Ensure that patrons have easy access to handwashing stations, hand sanitizer and washrooms.
• Encourage patrons to wash their hands properly and frequently.

• If possible, encourage patrons to pay by debit or credit card (tap if possible) and have staff wipe the machine and use hand sanitizer immediately after each interaction.
• Staff may choose to wear gloves. If they do so, they should practice proper glove use (see below).
• All cashiers should have hand sanitizer at their cashes, if possible.

Practice proper glove use
Gloves are not a substitute for proper hand hygiene, as they do not guarantee that food or surface are not contaminated. Gloves should always be worn when a staff member has a break in their skin or has a bandage that is covering a wound.
In the event you are wearing gloves, do so properly.

• Gloves must be used in combination with handwashing.
• Hands should always be washed and/or sanitized prior to putting on gloves and after taking gloves off.
• Change gloves whenever you change an activity, touch your face, or come into contact with an item that may have germs.
• Gloves should be thrown out and not used again once they have been taken off.

Supporting each other and our community
We understand that this is a challenging time, but measures like this are needed to ensure that the spread of COVID-19 in our community is limited. We thank you for the service that you provide to our community.

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