Quebec to make face masks mandatory in indoor public spaces

Jul 13 2020, 10:43 am

Face masks/coverings will soon be mandatory in indoor public spaces across the province.

As of Saturday, July 18, masks will be mandatory in all indoor public spaces everywhere in Quebec for citizens aged 12 years and older.

Fines will be issued to business owners who do not enforce the rules, ranging from $400 to $6,000.

As of August 1, fines could be issued to individuals who do not abide by the new rules.

The announcement was made from Quebec City on Monday by Premier François Legault. He said the new rules were put forth today after seeing a “slight” number of increase in cases throughout Quebec in the past week.

“Why didn’t we make it mandatory before? We had to make the two-metre distance a habit first,” said Legault in French. “We went forward gradually and strongly recommended masks but think it’s the wise move to make them mandatory now.”

Legault says the increasing number of cases is “not yet at a stage where it’s worrisome” but says Quebecers need to be vigilante so the spread doesn’t continue to worsen.

The premier says making masks mandatory lines up well with Quebec’s upcoming construction holidays where there will be a lot of travel between different areas of the province.

“The virus doesn’t take time off which is why we’re making the July 18 mandatory date,” he continued. Using restaurants as an example, Legault said once clients are seated and two metres away from others, they can take the masks off to eat. “However, when you get up to use the washroom or leave, you have to put the mask back on.”

Legault says “more and more studies” have found that the virus has an increased chance o spreading indoor which is why masks outside are not mandatory.

He says the government’s goal is not to give fines but will do so in certain situations to ensure the virus does not transmit. He says wearing a mask is better than being confined at home.

“It’s not fun wearing a mask but it’s essential so we don’t go back to confinement. It’s not about being afraid, but being respectful.”

Legault says wearing masks does not go against people’s freedoms.

“In the context of the pandemic, freedom is being able to walk around in shops. Wearing a mask is what freedom is. If we’re forced to be confined at home, that is not freedom.”

Legault concluded by asking for a special effort from Quebecers to collaborate with each other. He says we all need to respect the two-metre distancing, have no more than ten people for indoor gatherings, and to wear a mask indoors in public.

Legault said over 600 inspections were carried out over the weekend to ensure bars were following last week’s new guidelines and he says the inspections will continue to ensure Quebecers continue to follow public health’s rules.

“I want to wish all Quebecers a wonderful summer while remaining responsible,” he concluded.

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