Quebec mandates masks on public transit ahead of possible second COVID-19 wave
Measure will come into effect on July 13
By The Canadian Press
Health & Safety
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.
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.