New capacity limits for outdoor rinks, sledding hills and skiing trails in Ottawa

If you are planning to visit an outdoor rink, trail or sledding hill in Ottawa over the holidays, keep in mind a new public health order limits capacity at outdoor recreational amenities.

As of today, new capacity limits up to a maximum of 25 people are now in effect for outdoor skating rinks and congregation points at sledding hills and cross-country skiing trails.

“While the risk of transmission of COVID-19, on average, is greater in indoor spaces compared to outdoors, the risk of transmission is elevated in outdoor spaces when there is crowding, close contact, prolonged exposure and forceful exhalation (e.g., individuals physically exerting themselves by participating in sports and recreation activities),” said Etches in the Letter of Instruction issued on Thursday.

“Adopting capacity limits, physical distancing and masking requirements and other measures to reduce close contact between individuals in outdoor recreational amenities is likely to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 in the City of Ottawa.”

Starting Dec. 26, the capacity for outdoor skating rinks is 25 people or the maximum number of people that can maintain two metres physical distance.

For the Ottawa City Hall Rink of Dreams, Jim Tubman Chevrolet Rink of Dreams, Lansdowne Park Skating Court and Ben Franklin Place Skating Rink, the maximum capacity will be posted at each rink.

The new 25-person limit is also in place for gathering points at winter trails and sledding hills, including trailheads and the top of the hill.

Masks are mandatory for anyone who accesses the outdoor recreational amenity, including spectators. Masks are “highly recommended” when engaging in physical activity, says Ottawa Public Health.

Indoor change rooms and indoor clubhouses, excluding bathrooms, must be closed to the public at all outdoor skating rinks and trails.

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