She outlined what could be next.
The Quebec mask mandate could be approaching its end. But don't expect to throw your face coverings away tomorrow.
At a press conference on Wednesday, February 23, Public Health Senior Strategic Medical Advisor Marie-France Raynault (whose title sounds like something out of a hopelessly bureaucratic communist regime) said officials are "working on a plan" to gradually lift the measure across the province.
The government has already announced the end of mandatory mask-wearing in elementary and high school classrooms as of March 7. Earlier on Wednesday, the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) announced mask rules would ease for most workers on February 28 so long as they can maintain two-metre physical distancing or work behind physical barriers.
Raynault suggested these were just the first steps. From here, she said, officials would proceed according to the "level of risk."
The risk of COVID-19 virus transmission is lowest, Raynault explained, when people are seated, when they don't move and when they don't speak or speak little.
So far, the province's changes to mask rules only apply to situations in which workers or students are mostly stationary. Students still have to wear masks in common areas. In the workplace, Quebecers will still need a face covering when moving from one place to another, and in break rooms and dining rooms, unless they're eating.
As for the next steps, Raynault said officials are looking at venues where people are seated, such as theatres.
Other public spaces will see mask rule relaxations in subsequent steps. Raynault expects public transit "will really be the last place where the mask will be lifted."
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.