The measure is accompanied by a 14-day grace period during which users without masks will still be able to access public transport. The bond will therefore enter into force on July 27.
No fines are planned at this time. Users who do not wear a face covering will simply not be able to board.
There will be no police, but we are going to ask the people who run the transportation companies to prohibit entry for people who do not have a mask.
The measure will be mandatory for all users aged 12 and over, but it is also
highly recommended for the youngest, except for those under 2 years old.
To journalists who asked him why he had waited weeks before adopting this measure repeatedly demanded by the opposition and expert groups, François Legault explained that the policy of his government is to act
gradually according to the evolution of the pandemic in Quebec, in the other provinces as well as in the United States.
Today there are many more people in public transport [que pendant le confinement], he explained. As we have seen throughout the pandemic, the situation is changing, the rules are changing depending on the context, depending on what is happening in our neighbors. Today we feel the need to go one step further.
We are confused, but on parole, there are conditions to be met. People have to understand. Don’t wait until you are forced to wear a face covering.
Over the past month, the Société de transport de Montréal has distributed approximately 300,000 masks to its customers.
Challenges in Montreal
While welcoming the Legault government’s decision, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) warned that its employees could not carry out surveillance to verify that all passengers were wearing a mask.
The mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, recognizes that the STM does not have enough inspectors to intercept each user at fault. It focuses on citizen accountability rather than a punitive approach.
The news is also well received by the Société de transport de Sherbrooke where its president, Marc Denault, estimates that less than half of the users respected the wearing of masks on board buses.
In Quebec, the opposition believes it was time for the Legault government to decide to make this decision. This is the case in Québec solidaire where spokesperson Manon Massé believes that François Legault
himself fueled the confusion while wearing the mask in public while procrastinating about its importance.
With this obligation, I expect that masks will be provided to the population so that no less fortunate person is prevented from accessing public transportationsaid Ms. Massé.
A step ahead for Ontarians
It is not only in Quebec where the authorities oblige citizens to wear a face cover in public transport.
This is particularly the case in Toronto, where the measure comes into force on Thursday. The measure is already in effect in Ottawa, Guelph and Hamilton.
Several Ontario cities plan to go even further by forcing their citizens to wear the mask in all public places. In Toronto, municipal officials must adopt a by-law today, on the initiative of Mayor John Tory, which will make it mandatory to wear the mask in shops and all indoor public places. Other cities, including Ottawa, Windsor, Hamilton and Kingston, are also considering this option.
In Quebec, there is no question
for the time being to force people to wear the mask in public places, said François Legault.
It is not impossible to make the mask compulsory elsewhere than in public transport. It will depend on many factors including the evolution of the number of cases, the evolution of the pandemic but also, we want to go gradually.