COVID-19: Guidelines for safe gatherings on campus

Keeping you safe during your in-person events 

Current status of public health measures

The University of Ottawa bases its events decisions on the public health measures in place at the provincial and municipal level.

The current status of public health measures in place is:
Reopening step 3 (green)

Note: Should there be any discrepancy between the information provided by Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and the content of this page, please note that OPH’s guidelines prevail. To learn more about the levels of public health measures, visit the Roadmap to Reopen.

Following Ottawa Public Health and the University procedures, as well as the event industry recommendations, we’ve put together a list of guidelines for social gatherings to ensure every participant’s health and safety.

These guidelines are subject to change without warning. It is the client who is responsible for ensuring that they are aware of the latest information prior to the start of their reservation.

Reopening step 3 (green)

Reopening step 3 (green)

On Friday, July 16 at 12:01 a.m., Ontario will move to Step 3.


What can we do on campus in Step 3?

Internal activities
Indoor: Permitted, refer to capacity below.

Outdoor: Permitted, refer to capacity below.

To help us process your request as efficiently and as quickly as possible, please request a quote online by filling the form available at reservations.uottawa.ca. You may also submit any general inquiries to congres@uottawa.ca Please note that all the employees of Conventions and Reservations are unable to answer to requests made by email or Teams unless your request for a quote was submitted online and that they are the assigned agent on the request. 

External activities

Our priority remains the health and safety of our students and staff. We only accept external activities from our regular external clients at the moment due to limited personnel.

Student group activities

Indoor: Permitted, refer to capacity below.

Outdoor: Permitted, refer to capacity below.

All Student Group requests must be sent through VEMS- the VEMS portal is set to open on the week of August 16th, 2021. You may also submit any general inquiries to congres@uottawa.ca. Please note that all the employees of Conventions and Reservations are unable to answer to requests made by email or Teams. 


Guidelines in Step 3

Activity capacity

Your Coordination Agent will provide you with the capacity for your activity. COVID maximum capacity is based on:

  • the current status of public health measures
    • Indoor: Must be limited to the number that can maintain physical distancing of 2 meters between participants in the assigned space/room or 1,000 people (whichever is less). Registrar classroom limit is set at 50%. Multipurpose space capacities and floor plans are found on our website.
    • Outdoor: 75% capacity of the space.
  • set-up required for your activity
  • type of activity
    • Indoor receptions, tradeshows and any activity not conducive to social distancing is not permitted until further notice.
    • Performance (theatre, concert, etc) and Film Screenings: All participants must be seated with physical distancing and pre-register to the activity.
  • operational feasibility and available resources required to hosting your group on campus.

*any outdoor activities over 200 people at once is to obtain approval from C&R management.

*any outdoor activities over 500 people at once requires at City of Ottawa Permit.

Capacity per table

Limit of 6 people may be seated together, while keeping social distance of 2 metres (front, back and sides). Must wear mask except during food and beverage consumption.

Activity time

Activity must take place between 5 a.m. and end no later than 11 p.m. (midnight) or according to uOttawa building hours of operations.

Food
No self-serve buffets are permitted. Packaged meals or served meals are mandatory regardless if you are using Infusion Catering or any other external food suppliers.

Alcohol service
Please note that Infusion Catering remains the exclusive alcohol service beverage on campus.

Reopening step 2 (blue)

Reopening step 2 (blue)

Note that we are awaiting directives from OPH on the directives missing below.


What can we do on campus in Step 2?

Internal and Student groups activities

Indoor: Any operational team gatherings essential to the operations of uOttawa or mental health support services that cannot take place via videoconference, must be pre-approved by Conventions and Reservations. Contact us at congres@uOttawa.ca.

Outdoor: Permitted, refer to capacity below.

External activities
Not permitted


Guidelines in Step 2

Activity capacity
Maximum indoor capacity: Events, meetings and operational gatherings are currently not permitted.
Essential meetings : 10 people per room/space.

Maximum outdoor capacity: 25% capacity, up to 25 people. Consult your agent for the space capacity.

  • Capacity includes participants, speakers, staff, and any service providers or suppliers (such as audio-visual and catering).
  • The client is responsible to ensure that this maximum is respected throughout the entirety of their activity.
  • Physical distancing must still be maintained by all participants.
  • Booking multiple rooms for the same event is not permitted.

Capacity per table
Limit of 6 people may be seated together, while keeping social distance of 2 metres (front, back and sides). Must wear mask except during food and beverage consumption.

Activity time
Activity must take place between 5a.m. and end no later than 12 a.m. (midnight) or according to uOttawa building hours of operations.

Food
No self-serve buffets are permitted. Packaged meals or served meals are mandatory regardless if you are using Infusion Catering or any other external food suppliers.

Alcohol service
Please note that Infusion Catering remains the exclusive alcohol service beverage on campus.

Reopening step 1 (yellow)

Reopening step 1 (yellow)

Step 1 of the roadmap will begin when:

  • 60% of Ontario’s adults receive at least one dose of a COVID-19covid 19 vaccine
  • public health indicators, such as hospitalizations, ICU occupancy and new admissions and case rates indicate the province can safely move to this step of the roadmap

Based on current trends in key health indicators, including the provincial vaccination rate, the province will enter step one of the roadmap Friday, June 11, 2021, at midnight


What can we do on campus in Step 1?

Internal activities
Any operational team gatherings essential to the operations of uOttawa or mental health support services that cannot take place via videoconference, must be pre-approved by Conventions and Reservations. Contact us at congres@uOttawa.ca.

External activities
Not permitted.

Student group activities
The student associations have concluded that no in-person activities can take place on campus until further notice. Please refer to your student group email or contact CVUO for additional information.


Guidelines in Step 1

Event capacity

Maximum indoor and outdoor capacity: Events, meetings and operational gatherings are currently not permitted.

Essential meetings: 10 people per room/space.

Capacity includes participants, speakers, staff, and any service providers or suppliers (such as audio-visual and catering).

The client is responsible to ensure that this maximum is respected throughout the entirety of their activity.

Seating capacity
Limit of 4 people may be seated together. Must wear mask except during food and beverage consumption.

Social distancing must be respected: 2 metres apart (front, back and sides)

Activity time
According to uOttawa building hours and operations.

Food
Not permitted

Alcohol service
Not permitted

Music
Not permitted

Guidelines for safe gatherings on campus (updated September 22, 2021)

  • Prior to arrival on campus, all employees, student and visitors must completed uOttawa’s COVID-19 Vaccination Declaration and your Daily Health Check-In. If you do not pass the assessment, please do not attend this activity.
  • Effective September 22, 2021, to align with provincial government requirements, all participants and speakers over the age of 12 who are accessing activities on University of Ottawa premises (both indoor and outdoor) will need to be fully vaccinated (2 doses +14 days). At the activity checkpoint, you will be asked to present proof of vaccination and government ID (with your name and date of birth) for verification.
  • All participants and speakers must follow travel guidelines.

Regardless of restriction level, here are guidelines to follow:

  • The event organizer must work closely with the Conventions and Reservations Coordination Agent to implement a health and safety plan. Your Coordination Agent will also forward you our latest in-person COVID-19 checklist to prepare for your activity. This documents includes directives for:
    • Screening
    • Physical distancing and environmental measures
    • Hand sanitizing, cleaning and disinfection
    • Face covering and personal protective equipment
    • Safety guidelines and risk mitigation
  • The Agora, lower level promenade of the University Centre (UCU) and other lobby spaces are closed until further notice.
  • It is mandatory to have a list of participants with their full contact information to keep track of that quantity of participants, and for contact tracing purposes by OPH, should anyone report symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are you applying physical distancing measures in rooms/spaces?

All registrar classrooms and C&R managed event spaces have adjusted the number of seats available to allow spacing of six feet (2 metres) between individuals.

Tables and chairs may be spaced to meet best practices, and the usage of floor decals and other forms of signage may inform attendees on the best way to move through the space to limit contact.

Do I need to wear a mask during my activity/event?
Indoor

Ottawa Public Health has mandated the use of masks or face coverings in all enclosed public spaces. All members of the uOttawa community and participants who must come to campus are now required to wear a mask or face covering that securely covers the nose, mouth and chin while in common spaces (including classrooms, boardrooms and other event spaces) inside buildings.

Therefore, you must wear a mask for the duration of the activity on campus in addition to keeping a physical distance of 2 meters.

Outdoor

Ottawa Public Health has not mandated the use of mask for outdoor spaces. Masks must be worn when social distancing of 2 meters cannot be respected.

According to Ottawa Public Health, mask use should be combined with other protective measures, such as physical distancing, hand washing, not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands, and staying home if you are sick.

For additional mask information, visit the Ottawa Public Health Website and the University of Ottawa FAQ.

What happens if social distancing or room capacities are not respected during the event?

The client is responsible for assigning a university employee or a university student to be present before, during, and after the event to provide information, enforcing rules, and modeling healthy behaviour.

Event checks will be done by members of the University staff. In the event that a member from the University at the event not complying with the established guidelines, you will be asked to comply immediately. By not obliging, you may have to end your social gathering immediately and may be prevented from future/host events until COVID-19 measures are no longer in effect.

Will these guidelines change? How do they impact my reservation?

Unfortunately, we are dealing with unknown and unprecedented times. The governmental response, the unknown future circumstances that could result from it and its impact on University operations constitute events or causes beyond the University’s control.

Therefore, you agree that your reservation request, the reservation contract and the Terms and Conditions are subject to and conditional upon the governmental response and its impact on University operations. Additional fees to cover the University’s costs to comply with the governmental response to COVID-19 may be charged and payable by you and we will make reasonable efforts to notify you of any such additional fees as soon as possible.

Depending on the operations as well as the capacities in each building, we ask that organizers remain flexible with the location of their event(s). We may have to change your location as some spaces are restricted, etc.

How long will these guidelines be in effect?

The current public health guidelines have impacted the University’s operations and it is uncertain how long these measures will be in place. It is also unknown whether there may be a resurgence of the virus and resulting or supplementary renewed governmental response that could have further impacts on the University’s operations. The governmental response, the unknown future circumstances that could result from it, and its impact on University operations constitute events or causes beyond the University’s control.

How is our cancellation policy flexible during this uncertain time?

Depending on your events requirements, the agent will let you know the deadline to cancel your event without any penalty or your risk of penalty fees (if any).

If we are forced to cancel your reservation contract for reasons related to public health restrictions or other causes beyond the University’s control, the provisions of Section 6.2 of the Terms and Conditions will apply. We will make reasonable efforts to notify you of the cancellation as soon as possible and you will be refunded the amount you have paid up to the date you were notified of the cancellation.

Why is vaccination mandatory at the University of Ottawa?

On August 10, 2021, the University of Ottawa announced that we will now require COVID-19 vaccination for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors who intend to access the uOttawa campus on or after September 7, 2021 (1st dose) and October 15, 2021 (2nd dose).

https://www.uottawa.ca/coronavirus/en/mandatory-covid-19-vaccination

Further details to follow on how this will affect your activity will be posted on this webpage in the upcoming days. 

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