Both the City of Montreal and the Quebec government are asking people to wear face masks when using public transit – although it has yet to be made mandatory. In the fight to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus, wearing a mask in public is one of the first lines of defense, especially in Montreal – the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the province. And with the re-opening of non-essential businesses on the horizon, there will be more people using the bus and metro systems.
Do I need to wear masks on public transit
At a press conference two weeks ago, Mayor Valerie Plante already asked Montrealers to start wearing face masks, seeing that many people were struggling to keep the two-metre physical distancing measure in the city’s densely populated areas. “Whether you’re going for a walk or a bike ride, or you’re going to the grocery or to the pharmacy or taking public transport, I definitely invite you to wear a face covering as one of the ways to protect yourself and also protect others,” she said.
Quebec followed on Tuesday May 5th, officially asking public transit users to wear a face cover on buses and metro cars, as well as in places where physical distancing is not always possible. ‘Wearing a face cover is highly recommended’, was the advice coming from public authorities in a joint press release. They warned that ‘even if you are wearing a face mask, physical distancing measures still must be maintained when possible’ and also stated they ‘wish to reassure users and workers that public transit remains safe and that all measures are being taken to ensure that activities in this sector will continue under the safest and healthiest possible conditions during the reopening.’ The situation will be closely monitored and if necessary, ‘other measures could be implemented’. More importantly, people who have symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to not take public transit.
Montreal’s opposition party, Ensemble Montreal, called upon the Plante administration to make the wearing of face masks mandatory on local public transit – with leader Lionel Perez criticizing them for ‘strongly recommending rather than ordering that masks be worn’. In the meantime, Montreal’s STM authorities announced last week, they would provide reusable masks for its own staff.