Your guide to a safe Labour Day long weekend


The end of summer is always bittersweet, but this Labour Day long weekend will wind down a summer unlike any we’ve ever experienced. With days getting shorter and temperatures falling, we all want to make the most of the final long weekend of summer. That said, we also need to be mindful that limiting community transmission of COVID-19 is one of the most important things we can do to support the safe reopening of schools.

Read on for tips about how to get the most out of your long weekend while helping safeguard the health of our community.

A woman and a young girl sit side by side on a dock with their feet in the water while they watch the sunset.

1. Please wear a mask

We’re living in uncertain times, but we do know that wearing a mask properly can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Whether you're in an indoor public space or outside in an area where you can’t maintain physical distancing, please wear a mask. In addition to physical distancing, wearing a mask is especially important when you're around people outside of your 10-person social bubble.

Keep in mind that wearing a mask doesn’t replace other protective measures, such as physical distancing and hand washing, and that masks are now mandatory in common areas of condos and apartment buildings. Masks are recommended when gathering outdoors with people outside of your bubble when physical distancing is not possible.

A Hispanic woman wearing a blue shirt and flower-patterned mask stands in front of a tree.

2. Wash your hands often

Frequent handwashing is key to reducing the spread of COVID-19. Whether you’re staying home or venturing out this weekend, remember to wash and sanitize your hands often – especially before you eat – and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

3. Stay home if you're sick

If you aren’t feeling well, stay home! Check out Ottawa Public Health’s guide to determine if you should get tested for COVID-19.

4. Plan ahead

Heading to the cottage? Going on a day trip? Make a list of what supplies you’ll need to stay safe while in transit. Don’t forget extra masks and hand sanitizer! Make sure everyone in your group has their own snacks and water bottles.

Plan your activities, too. If you want to support a local business and eat on a patio, call ahead and make a reservation to confirm your spot, and limit time spent waiting in a crowded line. You can also pre-order meals for takeout and enjoy them at home or in a park where it might be easier to keep your distance from others.

5. Get outside

Fall is in the air! And as if we needed any more reason to get outdoors besides the beautiful weather, being outside and staying active can also relieve stress and support mental health.

Choose activities that allow for physical distancing, such as:

  • Golfing, playing tennis, playing catch, kicking a ball or flying a kite
  • Having a picnic or going for a hike
  • Visiting an outdoor farmer's market

Two young sisters with brown hair play soccer in a City park.

Check out the guidelines for the use of City parks and visit Ottawa Public Health’s guide to being active during COVID-19.

6. Eat smart, drink smarter

If your long weekend plans include dinner with friends, keep it small. Think casual, outdoor barbeque with people in your bubble instead of a big summer send-off with 25 of your closest friends. Spread out as much as possible while eating and serve individual portions rather than sharing from communal platters. It’s also a good idea to limit the number of people distributing food.

If you’re partying and drinking this weekend, you're more likely to let your guard down when it comes to protective measures like masking, physical distancing and hand hygiene.

7. Keep to your bubble

Seeing friends and loved ones is important for our mental health. Keeping our social circles small, however, helps reduce the spread of COVID-19. This is especially important to keep in mind as schools reopen.

Keeping transmission of the virus in the community as low as possible is the best way to reduce the chances of an outbreak in schools. By keeping to your bubble this long weekend, you’re supporting the health of students, teachers and custodial staff returning to school this fall.