OHS Canada Magazine

Quebec mandates masks on public transit ahead of possible second COVID-19 wave

Measure will come into effect on July 13


MONTREAL — Face masks will soon be mandatory on public transit in Quebec, the province announced Tuesday as it prepares for a potential second wave of COVID-19 in the fall.

Premier Francois Legault told a news conference the measure will come into effect on July 13.

Legault said as of July 27 — after a two-week probationary period — people not wearing a mask will be denied access to public transit, as of July 27.

The measure will apply to everyone aged 12 and older. For children between two and 12-years-old, masks are strongly recommended but children under two shouldn’t wear one.

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There will be no fines, Legault said, adding he was confident Quebecers would follow the measure.

For shops and other public places, the government strongly urges people to wear a mask, though it’s not mandatory for now.

About respect, says premier

The province’s public health director said that could change depending on how the COVID-19 situation in the province evolves.

“When you make things mandatory, there are always side effects,” said Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s director of public health. “The best thing is people understand … please wear your mask. I know it’s not normal, but it should become a reflex.”

Arruda said wearing masks will save lives — particularly if the disease continues to circulate in the fall.

Officials have strongly promoted wearing a mask in situations where physical distancing isn’t possible, but had resisted making them mandatory for a number of reasons, including access.

But Legault said the province is in a different phase now.

“Wearing a mask is not about fear — it’s about respect,” Legault said. “Wearing a mask protects other people in case we’re infected, so I ask all Quebecers to follow the public health instruction out of respect for each other.”

Quebec reported 68 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday along with 18 more deaths — seven of which were in the previous 24 hours.

The province now has reported 55,458 infections and a total of 5,503 deaths.