One of the essential allowances in the stay-at-home order is exercising outdoors, which contributes to everyone’s overall physical and mental health.

You and your family have plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities and get some fresh air and exercise.  Some safety precautions need to be taken to help slow down the surge of COVID-19 and variants-of-concern cases.  With more residents getting vaccinated each week, we can look forward to better days ahead.

Wearing masks in City parks

Ottawa Public Health strongly recommends people wear masks in the park.  Though it may be necessary to remove masks for some vigorous activities, you are encouraged to keep your mask on as much as possible. The COVID-19 variants-of-concern, which are prominent in the community, are much more contagious and transmissible – even outdoors. Masks protect residents from the spread and will help turnaround the current surge of the virus.

Social gathering restrictions

Whether you are in a park, a public space, or your back or front yard, the social gathering limit is no more than five people. The social gathering limit does not apply with respect to a gathering of members of a single household, or with one other person from outside that household who lives alone. And when you’re with others from outside your household, be sure to remain vigilant in practising physical distancing.

Sports fields and ball diamonds

Sports fields and ball diamonds will remain closed until current restrictions are eased to allow sports activities. Permits for synthetic turf fields are also suspended until further notice.

The current provincial regulations do not allow team or group recreation, sports play, scrimmage or training.

Tennis court activities

The nets on City-owned tennis courts will be installed starting in mid-April and be completed by early May. Until nets are installed, courts can be used for informal non-team sports including singles tennis and pickleball. The activity must adhere to physical distancing.  It is highly recommended that masks be worn when playing and waiting to go on the court and social gathering restrictions apply. It’s strongly recommended to play with people from your same household.

Basketball courts

No scrimmage or team play is permitted, and social gathering restrictions apply. People can shoot hoops and some one-on-one is permitted – preferably with members of your household. Maintain physical distancing on and off the court. Wear a mask as much as possible on and off the courts.

Casual sports play – tossing a ball or hitting pop-flies

Like basketball, no team play or scrimmages are permitted in the park and outdoor social gathering rules apply.  However, you can take part in some casual activities, like pop-flies or play catch while maintaining physical distancing. Again, it’s preferred to stick with members of your household for these activities. Wear a mask as much as possible.

Skate parks

Skate parks are popular with so many young people in our city. Here are some important key safety tips:

  • Wear a mask when waiting for your turn, watching fellow skaters and as much as possible when using the facility.
  • Maintain physical distancing between yourself and others outside of your immediate household.
  • Leave the park if it’s too crowded and come back at a less crowded time.

Play structures and playground equipment

Play structures, swings, slides and other playground amenities are open. The social gathering limit of no more than five people applies, and children and parents are strongly encouraged to wear masks around the play structure.

The social gathering limit does not apply with respect to a gathering of members of a single household, or with one other person from outside that household who lives alone. Ensure your children avoid touching their faces and ensure their hands are washed with soap and water or hand sanitizer while you’re at the park and when you get home. Help your children to maintain physical distancing from people outside your household.