- Vaccination numbers are one reason why on July 16 Ontario moved to the third step of its summer reopening plan.
- Outdoor public gatherings are now allowable with some restrictions..
- Did you temporarily suspend your road coverage at some point during the pandemic? If so, contact your broker or insurer and let them know you need it reinstated.
As Ontario tiptoes cautiously out of the public health restrictions it set to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, things appear to be on the upswing.
There’s still a way to go conceivably, but since December 15, 2020, 81% of adults in the province have gotten their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 68% are fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, 65% of young Ontarians between the ages of 12 and 17 have received a single dose and 41% are fully vaccinated.
That’s encouraging stuff. We’re repeatedly told the best way to beat COVID-19 and get back to a semblance of normalcy requires as many of us who can getting juiced. The vaccination numbers are one reason why on July 16 Ontario moved to the third step of its summer reopening plan. Now we can eat in a restaurant or go to a fitness club or movie theatre again. Capacity restrictions, masking, and physical distance measures still apply, but it seems like a small price to pay versus staying home almost all the time.
Outdoor public gatherings are now allowable with some restrictions. That opens a lot of possibilities even with public health restrictions in place. Here are a few family-friendly things you can do in Ottawa in August:
- Go for a dip. Go for a swim or sunbathe at one of Ottawa’s beaches – Britannia, Westboro, Mooney’s Bay, and Petrie Island. Be sure to check conditions before visiting.
- Visit the ByWard Market. Canada’s oldest and largest public farmers’ market is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. until November. There’s more to it than food, with art and craft vendors abound.
- Casino Lac-Leamy Sound of Light. Take in a dazzling firework display high above the Ottawa River set to music on Wednesday and Saturday evenings during the first three weeks of August. You can purchase tickets for a close-up view or watch for free from downtown Ottawa.
- Visit Parliament Hill. There’s plenty to see at the seat of our federal government. Watch the changing of the guard ceremony daily at 10 a.m., see the Centennial Flame (lit in 1967 and burns year-round), and share a message at the “whispering wall” by whispering a secret at one end of it only to be heard loud and clear at the other end. Kids love it.
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Make driving safely the priority
If you’re planning on taking a road trip or driving to an event in Ottawa, take your time behind the wheel, and keep these driving safety tips in mind:
- Make sure your wheels are good to go. Top up your car’s windshield wiper fluid, get an oil and filter change if you need it, and ensure your tires are properly inflated.
- Have car-related documents handy. Have your driver’s licence, insurance documents, vehicle ownership, and registration with you whenever you drive.
- Make everyone in the car buckle up. Wearing a seatbelt saves lives. You’d think by now seatbelt infractions would have gone the way of the square wheel. Evidently not. During the annual seven-day Canada Road Safety Week campaign last May, of the 8,285 charges the Ontario Provincial Police issued, speeding was the most common infraction, followed by driving without a seatbelt. You and all your passengers should buckle up every time, it could save a life one day.
- Drive defensively. Don’t drive aggressively, be courteous behind the wheel, and obey the speed limit. The new laws and penalties in Ontario targeting aggressive and dangerous driving are severe.
- Watch for emergency vehicles. Slow down and move over when police, ambulance, fire trucks, or tow trucks have their flashing lights on and need to pass you.
- Focus on the road. Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous things you can do while driving. Mute your phone and put it away. Also, let your passengers select the music or navigate while you drive.
- Don’t drive high or drunk. Don’t consume alcohol or cannabis before driving. You could kill someone. Plus, a driving while impaired conviction on your driving record will make getting an affordable auto policy next to impossible.
Make sure your auto policy is ready to roll with you
When was the last time you reviewed your car insurance policy and coverages? Now’s the time to do it, especially if you plan on being behind the wheel more often.
For instance, did you temporarily suspend your road coverage at some point during the pandemic? If so, contact your broker or insurer and let them know you need it reinstated. Otherwise, you may be driving without insurance, which is a serious offence.
Car insurance can be expensive, so do yourself a favour and compare policies and premiums from a broad range of insurers for free. You might be surprised to learn you can save money on your annual premium, and that’s all the more reason to celebrate.