Coronavirus: Quebecers defy mandatory mask-wearing limits

Quebecers resentful of wearing masks are defying the limits of this health obligation. Nearly 400 titles that do not effectively enforce this measure have been compiled on a widely circulated online map, sometimes without the knowledge of the traders themselves, found duty.

Wearing a face covering remains mandatory In all enclosed public places in Quebec, including in retail stores, for people 10 years of age and older. Public health experts still consider this to be one of the most effective ways to limit the spread of COVID-19.

If health instructions have become more flexible in recent weeks, it is largely due to mask-wearing and mass vaccination, recalls virologist Benoit Barbeau. “This is not the time to gradually skip steps to be taken,” says the professor who also works in the UQAM Department of Biological Sciences.

The fact that the virus is transmitted via aerosols has become the subject of scientific consensus, and thus the importance of wearing a mask as well. The mask has truly changed the fight against the epidemic and has given convincing results all over the planet. It remains an essential component of our ability to maintain a low transmission rate,” emphasizes Mr. Barbeau.

He believes that this obligation could be among the last to be retained, as the measure is “not too restrictive” given its “great impact”. It is also a measure supported by the majority of Canadians.

However, a Facebook group that opposes compulsory face coverings amassed more than 52,000 followers in one week. Some people openly view themselves as “conspirators,” according to their own vocabulary. Others say they are tired of covering their mouth and nose inside or are confused by current standards. Selfies without masks in public remain among the most popular posts.

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without permission

Many of these letters bear mention of the place in question, which causes headaches for some companies.

Local franchises of big chains like Couche-Tard, Canadian Tire, Subway, Walmart and Maxi find themselves without permission on this list, according to calls made by duty. In Jean Coutu’s group, we prefer to talk about it as little as possible. “We continue to implement established procedures,” explains Catherine Latendres, the company’s head of communications. One of the owners of Jean Coteau’s pharmacy in Vaudrell-Dorion said she was surprised to find herself there against her will.

Independent companies claim to knowingly be on the list. About two dozen vaping accessory stores operating under the PopaVape name in particular are voluntarily offered “in the interest of free choice,” the county representative of the chain indicated on the phone, not wanting to identify themselves.

In a Facebook group where opponents unite to wear the mask, there are stickers that will be displayed. They take government drawings, but distort the message: Instead of reading “Here, I wear my face covering,” it says “Here, I wear my prettiest smile” or “Here, we respect your choice.” Group administrators also encourage their members to take advantage of the exception granted to people with certain health problems. “If you’re not wearing a mask, we [les commerçants] Consider you have a requirement that justifies it and we will serve you with a smile, no questions asked! they write.

However, merchants are not immune to fines, notes the Gatineau shop owner. He registered himself on the list, but chose to keep his identity secret for fear of “seeing the police coming down”. He says he wanted to please his customers: “They asked me and then they liked my gesture,” he says.

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The procedure is still widespread

The businessman also says he wanted to follow the lead of other provinces. Saskatchewan In fact, he ended wearing masks indoors on July 11. in AlbertaMasks are still mandatory on public transport, but companies or municipalities are free to choose their own policy. Lantario A policy similar to that of Quebec applies.

And several European countries, including France and Spain, imposed this winter the wearing of masks at all times, even in open spaces. France eased this measure into a new phase of dismantling, but wearing a mask in stores is still prescribed. It is also mandatory to wear it in offices, contrary to the directives in Quebec in the yellow and green zone.

Israel also reinstated this commitment in the face of the increase in pollution associated with the delta formula. Other cities around the world have also declined.

Benoit Barbeau invites us to think back to school, when Quebecers return to everyday life within the walls of schools and offices. “Mask is a simple metric that gives results.”

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