Less than one week after the first case of COVID-19 in Ottawa was diagnosed, the city’s streets are eerily deserted. As leading health experts suggest self-isolating and working from home where possible, it seems residents are listening to their advice. In fact, the capital seems so quiet, it’s almost hard to believe anybody lives here.
Since the city’s first case of novel coronavirus was confirmed last week, Ottawa has been on high alert to control the spread of the virus.
After announcing that social distancing should be practiced wherever possible, the city made moves to cancel any local recreation and cultural facilities, such as libraries, swimming pools, theatres and museums.
On Monday, Mayor Jim Watson also advised all of the local bars and restaurants to close their doors to dine-in customers, citing concerns about the spread of the virus in public places.
Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health also shared similar messages, urging residents to stay at home wherever possible and to avoid “non-essential” trips out of the house.
In response, it seems the capital is listening. Over the past few days, photos have emerged on social media of the city’s deserted streets, and it’s hardly recognizable.
Downtown Ottawa, 4h30 pm. Normally the street is packed! 😳 https://t.co/tfFCBiDjHR— France Bergeron 🇨🇦 (@France Bergeron 🇨🇦)1584131296.0
So eerie and encouraging to see downtown Ottawa this quiet during rush hour. https://t.co/46NLKYenFo— Julia Dick (@Julia Dick)1584400797.0
Taking to Twitter to share photos of the city’s unusually quiet streets, one local explained, “An almost deserted downtown Ottawa today on my lunch break. Eerie to say the least. At least people are heeding the advice and staying home.”
The images show usually jam-packed areas completely deserted, with only one or two pedestrians dotted around.
Similar pictures show the streets around Parliament, as well as train stations and coffee shops, where there is also nobody to be seen.
Another resident added, "So eerie and encouraging to see downtown Ottawa this quiet during rush hour."
An almost deserted downtown Ottawa today on my lunch break. Eerie to say the least. At least people are heeding the… https://t.co/TLmzjQMGet— Ian Black (@Ian Black)1584381625.0
Ottawa. 2020.03.16. - This was my commute to work yesterday around 8:30am. Keep it up Ottawa. https://t.co/yRv3B5Eyqt— Adam Scotti 🇨🇦📷 (@Adam Scotti 🇨🇦📷)1584440696.0
Similar scenes could also be seen in the city’s public transit service, which is usually extremely busy during rush hour.
However, the latest pictures show no lines, no commuters, and definitely no “rush.”
According to Twitter users, things were no different at the Ottawa Airport, where there was no sign of travellers coming or going.
Welcome to rush hour in Ottawa. Pimisi / Bayview / Trillium line. #COVID19 #Ottawa #covidontario https://t.co/DdoTjTHms8— Adrienne Kolotylo (@Adrienne Kolotylo)1584357104.0
My flight to Washington from Ottawa last night got cancelled. This morning, the Ottawa U.S. departures area is empt… https://t.co/Dz78LfBRyZ— ericmiller191 (@ericmiller191)1584015868.0
For the time being, it also seems that Ottawans are steering clear of shopping malls and eateries, as images show empty bars and stores across the city.
While it definitely makes for a strange sight, it's reassuring to know that most people are trying to practice social distancing wherever possible.
Stopped by the OnRoute on the 401 east of Kingston on the way to Ottawa. Business as usual? I think not. https://t.co/GCNOP4MFM7— Mark Mendelson (@Mark Mendelson)1584363649.0
Stay safe, Ottawa!
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* This article's cover image is for illustrative purposes only.