COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions about Campus Events

Classroom with whiteboard, wooden tables and black chairs

Can events be held on campus now?

Internal and student group activities:

As of September 1, 2020, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and the University of Ottawa have concluded that uOttawa employees, professors, and student groups can host small events on campus as long as COVID-19 specific guidelines are respected.
Even so, we still strongly encourage clients to review their offering by using alternative practices such as the use of videoconferencing or to consider a combination of in-person and videoconferencing to reduce the size of their gathering.
Please refer to the Unofficial Guide to Microsoft Teams Meeting at the University of Ottawa.

External activities:

Unfortunately, we are unable to process your request at this time due to COVID-19. The health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff is our top priority. In our effort to reduce the risk of direct infection and transmission of the virus, the University of Ottawa has implemented restrictions on all external activities until November 1, 2020. Please note that this date may be extended.

Guidelines for safe gatherings on campus (updated September 17, 2020)

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.
  • Capacity: Based on current public health guidelines: there is a maximum amount of 10 individuals allowed per indoor room/space (previous limit 50) and 25 people for outdoor gatherings (previous limit 100).
    • This 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 (social) distancing is required at all times before, during, and after the event. All persons present must maintain a distance of at least two metres (6 feet) from other persons. The University will be installing directional signage in the buildings and rooms, but you are responsible for ensuring all persons present respect the indications.
  • Networking events, receptions, concerts, dancing lessons, and any other activities that are not conducive to physical distancing are not permitted until further notice.
  • The Agora, lower level promenade of the University Centre (UCU) and other lobby spaces are closed until further notice.
  • All participants and speakers must be local. Therefore, anyone from outside the National Capital Region, including anyone from out of the country who has not completed a full 14-day quarantine, cannot participate in any events on campus. If you already have a file started for an event with an international speaker and/or international participants, we recommend contacting C&R to delay or cancel your reservation.
  • 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. In the event that a guest informs you that they have developed any COVID-19 related symptoms, you must inform Conventions and Reservations immediately.
  • All persons entering or remaining in our premises are required to wear a mask that securely covers the nose, mouth and chin. Full details in FAQ below, or for more information you can visit the Ottawa Public Health website and the University of Ottawa FAQ.
  • The client is responsible to provide the following information by email to their participants at least 3 days prior to the reservation.
  • The client must ensure that disinfecting tissues and alcohol-based hand sanitizer are provided at the entrance of the space/room reserved and that participants oblige with this measure. The client is responsible for any expenses related to this measure.
  • No self-serve buffets are permitted. Boxed/packaged meals or served meals are mandatory regardless if you are using Infusion Catering or any other external food suppliers. We recommend calling the guest tables one by one to the food line in order to respect physical distancing.
  • Cleaning of the rooms after your usage is mandatory and is at the organizer’s cost
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?

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.


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?

We are all in this together. Because of the highly contagious virus, everyone must do their part.

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.

These guidelines are subject to change. Contact us for any other questions.

Back to top