The City of Ottawa’s top health official Dr. Vera Etches has banned hockey sticks, pucks and all other sporting equipment at public outdoor ice rinks. 

Dr. Etches also outlined a new reservation booking system for the city’s rinks to prevent crowding, as all outdoor rinks, sledding hills, cross-country ski trailheads and parking lots are now limited to a maximum of 25 people. 

The new measures, announced Thursday, are intended to be in compliance with the Ontario government’s December 26th, 2020 lockdown order.

“Outdoors is much safer than indoors, but if you are right beside someone, you could breathe in their respiratory secretions,” said Etches. 

“We’re in a situation now where we need to have stronger protections.”

Dr. Etches is also pushing for Canadians to wear masks while outdoors and while doing physical activity. 

Despite the ban on hockey at Ottawa’s outdoor rinks, the Government of Ontario recently greenlighted the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators to play home games. 

“In consultation with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and with support from local medical officers of health in Ottawa and Toronto, I am pleased to share that both of Ontario’s NHL teams, the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs, will be able to host home games against other Canadian teams in their respective arenas this season,” said Ontario’s Health Minister Lisa MacLeod.