June 4, 2020 – Message from Ottawa Public Health
Public marches are taking place all over the world, including one this week in Ottawa. Part of our role at Ottawa Public Health is to provide our community with the necessary information and guidance so that they are able to make informed decisions. With respect to enforcement, we encourage people to reach out to Police agencies who will be leading enforcement.
Participating in a public march does present some challenges with respect to containing an outbreak. Gathering in large groups creates the potential risk of increasing the transmission of COVID-19. OPH has developed guidance for those who are considering attending upcoming marches to help decrease and mitigate the risks associated with marches as much as possible.
Therefore, we recommend that:
- Individuals should self-assess their level of risk before deciding to participate.
- Consider lower-risk alternative forms of expressing their support for a cause (e.g., virtual or social media).
- Anyone who is sick, or is experiencing any symptoms should not participate in a march. We ask that you stay home and go for assessment or testing to avoid further spreading the virus.
- Ottawa Public Health recommends that those with pre-existing conditions, those over 65 years of age and others considered high-risk or in close contact with high-risk individuals should avoid participating in a march.
While attending a march we recommend that participants:
- Maintain physical distancing as much as possible.
- Wear a face mask at all times.
- Consider alternatives to yelling and shouting to avoid spreading droplets (thunder sticks, drums, etc.)
- Consider wearing noise protection like ear plugs or over the ear noise protectors.
- Regular handwashing and the use of hand sanitizer are strongly recommended.
- To better protect yourself after being in a large crowd, remove and wash your clothes upon your return home.
- Bring hand sanitizer with you and also wash your hands upon returning home.
- Clean any materials that you carried during the march. (water bottles, cellphones, cameras, signs, etc.)
- As always while COVID-19 is circulating in the community, monitor yourself for symptoms and if any symptoms develop, get tested right away. Avoid contact with those who are at high risk of severe COVID-19 disease or complications (e.g. older people, those with pre-existing health conditions, etc.)
The health and safety of our community is a top priority for Ottawa Public Health and we thank you for helping reduce the spread of COVID-19. For more information please visit our COVID-19 webpage.