With more cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Ottawa, including confirmation of community spread, we are urging that everyone either practice physical (social) distancing or self-isolate if applicable. Each of our efforts are needed as a community.

The actions you take will affect not only you, but your loved ones and the most vulnerable people in our community. By acting now, you may be saving lives – the life of a family member, a neighbour, a friend, or a coworker.

For individuals with respiratory symptoms (such as fever or cough):
• You must self-isolate for 14 days from when your symptoms started, or until 24 hours after symptoms have FULLY resolved, whichever is longer
• You must not leave your home if you have respiratory symptoms.
• If your symptoms are worsening to a point where you cannot manage at home, please visit your nearest emergency department.
• If you think you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, fill out the self-assessment tool at Ontario.ca/Coronavirus to help determine how to seek further care.
For individuals who are returning from travel, you must self-isolate for 14 days:
• The Federal Quarantine Act requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. Leaving your property to go for a walk is not permitted under the Quarantine Order, issued on March 25, 2020.
• Do not go to community settings, including the grocery store. If you need groceries or other essential items, have a family member, friend or neighbour do this for you and leave items at the door.
• If you have respiratory symptoms, follow guidance in the section above.

For ALL Ottawa residents (except those listed above):
• Practice physical (social) distancing – Avoid all non-essential trips in the community
• Household contacts (people you live with) do not need to distance from each other unless they are sick, or have travelled within the past 14 days
• Cancel ALL group gatherings.
• Connect via phone, video chat, or social media instead of in-person
• Talk to your employer about working from home (if possible).
• Avoid visiting elderly friends or relatives unless the visit is essential.
• Keep windows down for essential community trips via taxi or rideshares.
• You can go outside (for example – to take a walk or kick a ball with members of your household, who are already close contacts). While outside, avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) from those around you. Make an effort to step-aside, or pass others quickly and courteously on sidewalks. Passing someone on the sidewalk is not considered close contact or a significant risk for exposure to COVID-19.

Human Needs Taskforce
Our community partners are working together through the City’s Human Needs Task Force for those requiring assistance. The task force is receiving, assessing and triaging all social and human needs inquiries, while mobilizing and supporting community organizations to address urgent community needs. The Human Needs Task Force aligns internal city resources, external partners, existing funding and new funding to community need.

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.

Volunteer Coordination
The City and United Way of Eastern Ontario are developing a plan to support volunteer coordination during the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteer Ottawa has established a pool of pre-screened volunteers and will continue to accept new applicants.

Buy Local
In partnership with its Economic Partners Taskforce, the City of Ottawa today launched the first phase of an online promotional campaign to help local businesses during these challenging times.

The campaign encourages residents to support their favourite small businesses by taking immediate and concrete steps now:
• Buy from local businesses online.
• Purchase gift cards from local businesses to use later.
• Order delivery or takeout from area restaurants.
• Send local businesses messages of support on social media.

These actions will help local shops, restaurants and services by providing them with critical income during this challenging period.

The campaign includes targeted ads that will reach residents on several online platforms over the coming weeks and direct them to ottawa.ca/buylocal. There, residents will find links to sites listing businesses serving customers virtually or providing takeout and meal delivery.

The City is also launching a web page on ottawa.ca to provide businesses with access to essential information and support programs. The page will have links to provincial and federal assistance programs, as well as details on measures offered by the City to help businesses in the coming weeks and months. This includes the property tax deferral and other relief measures that Council approved at its meeting on March 25.

Ottawa is a caring community and clearly recognizes the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our small businesses, their owners and employees. These shops, restaurants and services are the foundation of our local economy. Any support residents can provide during these challenging times will help businesses continue to operate online and keep staff employed.

Grace period for interim property tax payment
With the interim property taxes mailed out in mid-February, the City extended a grace period to Wednesday, April 15, with no late payment applied between the original March 19 deadline and the new date for those unable to make payment by the due date. The interim property tax bill covers 50 per cent of the entire property tax bill.

New 2020 Interim Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program
The City has also established a 2020 Interim Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program for qualifying residents, as well as businesses that have an assessed property value of up to $7.5 million – which captures 91 per cent of all commercial properties in Ottawa. The program extends both the interim property tax deadline (March 19) and the final property tax deadline (June 18) to Friday, October 30, 2020.

To qualify, your account would need to have been paid up to date before the interim tax installment. The application deadline is July 31, 2020.The application form, as well as other qualifying criteria and program information, is available on ottawa.ca/taxrelief.

View, Print and Payment options
Ottawa residents can sign up for paperless billing for property tax and water bills. This is a secure website where you can manage, view, print and pay your bills online. It is free to set up, easy to use and provides residents access to their account information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Visit ottawa.ca for more information.

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 ottawa.ca
• Pre-authorized debit
• Mail

Remember to check in with others by phone or other technology. Be courteous. Support your neighbours if you can. Check in with yourself. It’s ok not to be ok. Reach out to the Distress Centre of Ottawa to connect with someone at 613-238-3311 if you need help or are having trouble coping.

This is a difficult and challenging time for everyone. I’d like to thank you for your cooperation with physical (social) distancing from others and thank people who are helping each other.
Supporting our neighbours is essential for us to make it through this pandemic.
For more information on COVID-19, please visit: OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus.
Information on financial and social supports is available on Ottawa.ca.