Masks or face coverings will be mandatory in all indoor public spaces across Quebec, beginning Saturday, July 18.
That coincides with the start of the province’s two-week construction holiday, when tens of thousands of Quebecers take their summer vacation.
“It’s better to wear a mask than to be confined at home,” said Premier François Legault in making the announcement Monday afternoon. “It’s not fun wearing a mask, but it’s essential.”
The regulation applies to everyone age 12 and up, although Legault said even children as young as two could be encouraged to wear a mask. People with a medical condition that precludes them from wearing one will be exempted.
Legault said the government took time before making masks mandatory to get people used to the two-metre distancing rule, which he said is the most important one to follow.
“I am asking all Quebecers to collaborate. We need to respect the two-metre [rule],” Legault said.
He also stressed the importance of keeping gatherings to a maximum of 10 people.
The indoor mask regulation will apply to retail stores, malls and recreational centres and any other enclosed public space, including restaurants, whenever someone is not seated at a table.
Business owners are responsible for applying the new regulations. If they fail to, they could face fines of between $400 and $6,000.