At his daily COVID-19 press update, Premier François Legault explained why Quebecers should wear a mask when they're out in public. While they're not mandatory, the Premier made a "strong suggestion" that everyone should wear a mask as an added measure of security when venturing out. Legault stressed that wearing masks is a form of respect for your fellow citizen and can limit the spread of the virus.
Making a point to take off his own mask as an example, he said that "it's important to say it, the mask is to protect others, so it's not to protect yourself."
"That means, if we talk or, even worse, we cough and then we don't have time to put your elbow in front of your mouth, as it happens to me from time to time, the mask prevents contamination of others."
The Premier mentioned that it's not necessary to have a medical-grade mask to go out in public. Homemade masks are adequate enough.
Legault also highlighted that despite masks being a new reality for us, countries such as Japan have been practising mask-wearing during flu season for decades.
"I ask all Quebecers, in Montreal and then in the rest of Quebec, when you leave your house, put on a mask," said Legault.
Acknowledging that this could be a radical shift in our daily lives, Legault doubled-down on the importance of wearing masks in Montreal's hot-spots.
The masks aren't mandatory for a variety of reasons, according to the government.
Among the main reasons, Legault cited the availability of masks, the scientific uncertainty of wearing them, and the economic factors at play.
"For several weeks, we did not have much inventory of surgical masks and N95 masks. So they must first be available before making something mandatory," said Legault.
"Second, legally, before making [masks] mandatory, one must be certain that [they are] effective," he stressed.
"In order to put it as a requirement, you have to prove that it's efficient, and it's not that clear to prove that it's 100% [foolproof]."
Un des moyens de réduire au maximum la contagion, c’est de porter un masque (qui peut être artisanal) en public.… https://t.co/7sUYOtXbg0— François Legault (@François Legault) 1589302213.0
The most economically vulnerable populations might not be able to afford masks if they are mandatory, mentioned Legault.
#COVID19 - Au Québec, en date du 12 mai 2020 à 13 h 15, la situation est la suivante: 39 225 cas confirmés 256 518… https://t.co/lOe5rHTa41— Santé Québec (@Santé Québec) 1589304641.0
Though masks will likely be the norm in Quebec, the public still needs to be vigilant about respecting health rules as "it's not true that the mask can prevent everything, so you have to be careful."
As of May 12, there are 39,225 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Quebec.
Stay tuned for more news.