With 2-week grace period over, you'll now need to wear a mask to board public transit
The two-week grace period is over: as of Monday, Quebecers will have to wear a mask to board public transit across the province.
Public-transit agencies across Quebec will now be able to refuse access to all those not wearing a face covering.
However, some agencies in the Montreal region will continue to opt for an awareness strategy that they say has worked well in recent weeks.
Since July 13, face coverings have been mandatory on public transit, except for those who cannot wear one for health reasons.
According to public-transit agencies in the Montreal region, the vast majority of users are already wearing face coverings.
Exo, which manages suburban train lines, says its users have adhered to the measure since its inception two weeks ago.
The agency's awareness campaign will continue, a spokesperson said.
"Our network inspectors and supervisors will crisscross the territory to ensure a continuous presence and to continue their work to raise awareness among customers," the spokesperson wrote in an email. "They will have face coverings and information leaflets available to them that they can offer to customers not subject to the exceptions in order to remind them of the obligation to wear a mask."
The STM said that, given its 68 metro stations, hundreds of entrance gates and more than 1,200 buses in rush hour traffic, it will not be able to prohibit access to facilities or vehicles, but its teams will ensure that they make customers aware of the importance of respecting the mandatory mask measure.
In an email, STM spokesperson Amélie Régis said that "audio messages are broadcast in the metro and pre-recorded messages can also be broadcast on demand in the bus if the driver notices that customers do not comply.
She added that the STM has seen a significant increase in the number of customers wearing face coverings, "a sign that the information campaign and the distribution operation are bearing fruit."
Regis reports that 95 per cent of Montreal transit users complied with this measure, an increase of nine percentage points in nine days. In buses, the wearing of masks went from 87 per cent to 97 per cent in the same space of time.
"We aim to put everything in place to facilitate compliance with the decree by our customers, but the STM will not adopt a coercive approach for its application," she said. "The sharp increase in face coverings observed in recent weeks tends to confirm that this strategy is working."
Wearing a mask in indoor public spaces has also been mandatory in Quebec since July 18.
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