Be 'COVID wise' during Canada Day celebrations: Dr. Etches

Canada Day 2020 has gone virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but organizers hope it will help set the tone for years to come as more organizations join forces.

Ottawa's medical officer of health is urging you to be "COVID wise" while celebrating Canada's 153rd birthday on Wednesday.

Canada Day festivities on Parliament Hill, at Major's Hill Park and at parks across Ottawa are all cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Ontario Government restrictions limit gatherings to a maximum of 10 people.

"This year, Canada Day is going to look and feel a little different. With no signature events downtown or large community gatherings, you may find yourself finding new ways to celebrate Canada Day," said Dr. Vera Etches on Monday afternoon.

"The most Canadian thing we can do is continue to care and protect each other by being COVID wise during our  celebration."

Ottawa Bylaw officers will patrol City of Ottawa parks and beaches to make sure residents are practicing physical distancing, and limiting groups to a maximum of 10 people.

"I encourage everyone to continue that physical distancing, wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible, limit your contacts in numbers and stay home if you're sick," said Dr. Etches.

"And of course, always washing your hands."

Dr. Etches offered three tips for a safe Canada Day:

  • Try to keep the celebrations outdoors, in places where physical distancing can be followed
  • Avoid potentially crowded areas like parks or beaches
  • Celebrate with those inside your social circle, "those 10 people at the most where you've decided to have closer connections," said Dr. Etches.

"Being COVID wise is key to moving into Stage 3 and beyond," said Dr. Etches.

COVID safe at the beach

The medical officer of health says if you head to the beach this week to cool off, find spots away from crowds.

"This is a great way to cool off and enjoy time with those in your household. Our advice is to avoid large crowds where you are unable to physically distance to protect yourself and those around you," said Dr.  Etches in a statement.

"If you do plan on spending time at the beach this summer, be sure to remember the COVID wise basics. Remain cautious of communal areas such as washrooms and high-touch surfaces."

COVID wise stands for:

W - Wear a mask

I - Isolate when sick

S - Stay two metres apart from others 

E - Exercise proper hand hygiene