The Montreal Island suburb of Côte-Saint-Luc has ordered people entering public spaces to cover their faces – or possibly receive a hefty fine. The new rule applies when a person is entering any store, business or municipal building like city hall or the library. The bylaw was adopted at a city council meeting on June 1, “but the businesses have two weeks to implement their program and the city will be tolerant for another two weeks,” Côte-Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein told MTL Blog.  

“Countries who have enforced the wearing of masks are doing much better,” he said. “It's the only way to avoid a second wave and keep numbers down.”  

As of June 1, 494 people in Côte-Saint-Luc have been infected with the coronavirus and 35 have died, according to Santé Montréal.  

Fines of between $100 and $500 can be imposed on those who fail to wear a mask. Shopkeepers that allow unmasked people into their stores could be fined between $200 and $500.

The new bylaw said the mask must cover the mouth and nose, and can be a homemade creation, scarf or bandanna.  

The provincial government has "strongly recommended" mask-wearing in public but has not made it mandatory.  

When asked whether other municipal governments should also legally require people to wear face masks, Brownstein said, “absolutely,” and noted that Ottawa will officially require users of its public transit system to wear masks starting June 15.  

“Others will follow,” he said.  

Brownstein said Côte Saint-Luc has the highest percentage of seniors in the province and older people face a significant risk of developing severe illness after contracting COVID-19.  

“Spare a thought for all those who are afraid to go outside because they worry about people without face coverings getting too close to them on the sidewalk or at the grocery store,” said Brownstein.  

Those who might have problems wearing masks such as people with asthma, autism or hearing problems will be exempt from the new law.

The bylaw also requires apartments and condos to provide hand sanitizer.  

Whether other cities and towns will follow Côte-St-Luc remains to be seen.


This article's cover image is used for illustrative purposes only.

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