If you are not aware of Ottawa’s social distancing rules, now is the time to brush up! Last week, the city officially closed many outdoor spaces, including park equipment, enclosed dog parks, and outdoor courts. Now, local police officers are patrolling these areas to make sure nobody is breaking the new protocol.

On March 27, the City of Ottawa confirmed that they would be closing several of the region’s outdoor recreation spaces, in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic

Their notice explained that all listed facilities would be closed until further notice, and would only be open to “walkthroughs.”

This means that spaces like sports fields, outdoor sports courts, enclosed dog parks and parks with equipment will only be open to pass through, and spending time in these areas is no longer permitted.

“These types of spaces and amenities encourage group gatherings and usage, which go against the physical (social) distancing measures being used to flatten the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” the local government explained.

In a tweet on Monday morning, City of Ottawa Bylaw stated that officers conducting “proactive patrols” of all closed spaces, in order to ensure that people are following protocol and practicing safe social distancing.*

The amenities and spaces that are closed for use include public sports fields, ball diamonds, basketball courts and tennis courts.

Additionally, all play structures and park equipment have been prohibited, including swings, slides, climbers, adult fitness stations, benches and picnic tables, skateboard parks, and off-leash dog enclosures.

Importantly, the city adds, “These surfaces are not being cleaned and could potentially spread the COVID-19 virus.”

This comes as Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that all gatherings of more than five people would be prohibited, in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

Speaking about the decision, Ford explained, "If we are going to stop the spread of COVID-19 now and keep our communities safe, we need to take extraordinary measures to ensure physical distancing."

This five-or-more ban includes religious services, weddings, parties and community projects.

Funerals are still permitted but there can't be more than 10 people attending.

As of March 30, there were 6,258 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Canada; 1,355 people with the disease are located in Ontario.

So far, 61 people have died.

*Editor's Note: This story has been updated.

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