On Tuesday morning, the government announced that wearing face masks will be mandatory on public transit in Quebec. Premier François Legault and provincial health authorities have strongly recommended wearing masks indoors when maintaining a two-metre distance from others is difficult but were hesitant to make them mandatory. Now, as of July 13 wearing masks will be mandatory on buses, metros, and trains.
"The last thing we would want in Quebec is to go back to where we were in the last few months," the Premier said.
"The more we open businesses, the more people are using public transit," he continued.
"We've reached a new state."
The mandatory mask order applies to everyone over 12. Masks are only "strongly recommended" for children aged two to 12.
"Children under two years old should not wear a mask."
As for businesses, Legault said mask-wearing is still strongly encouraged but emphasized that "for the moment" it's not obligatory.
He made clear that the government isn't excluding the possibility of mandatory mask-wearing in other areas.
"I understand that it's not pleasant to wear a mask," the Premier conceded, especially in the heat.
But "it's necessary so that we don't go backwards," he said, highlighting that it's a matter of respect for your fellow transit riders.
Since initiating deconfinement measures over the past month, the government has been pushing for masks to be the new normal.
According to Dr. Arruda, it's not guaranteed that only wearing a mask will completely prevent the spread of the virus, but it's one of the best ways for people to protect themselves and others.
At a press conference on Monday, Dr. Horacio Arruda highlighted that the province has learned a lot about the virus over the past month and that the health network would be better prepared to deal with a second outbreak.