At the Cavendish Mall IGA grocery store in Côte Saint-Luc, many were already wearing masks to do their shopping on Thursday.
“You go into a store, I protect you and you protect me, too,” said Anne Goodfield, who had just left the store.
However, Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein wants everyone to wear masks in stores, and says it will soon be mandatory for people to wear masks in public indoor spaces in the area amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are passing a bylaw that deals directly with businesses in our city, condos and apartments, common areas and elevators,” he told Global News.
Brownstein says Côte Saint-Luc is home to the highest proportion of seniors in Quebec. Seniors are the ones most vulnerable to COVID-19, and he wants to put them all at ease.
“We want to make sure that they, too, can enjoy their life, and they’re not going to feel safe in our community if they don’t see everybody else wearing masks. That way if you sneeze or if you cough, you don’t infect somebody else, even if you’re asymptomatic,” Brownstein said.
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Some shoppers coming out of IGA said they would feel much better if everyone was forced to wear masks.
“I think it’s a great idea. I’m wearing masks when I go into every store I go to. I think it should be mandatory,” Barbara Engel said in the IGA parking lot.
Goodfield took issue with those doing their shopping without masks.
“There were a few people in there wearing no masks, no gloves, nothing,” Goodfield said after leaving the grocery store. “It’s very unfair to us, because we are abiding by the rules and we’re careful.”
Quebec has strongly recommended people wear masks in public but has not made it mandatory. When asked about Côte Saint-Luc’s plan to pass a bylaw, Premier François Legault spoke of the challenge of enforcement.
“When you put something mandatory, it means you have to have police checking, giving some penalties, how much do we give? It will be easier if Quebecers accept to respect the rules,” he said.
Brownstein said businesses and buildings will need to enforce the rules in Côte Saint-Luc, and could be fined for breaking them.
“We don’t have a police force dedicated to this type of thing, so it’s mostly our urban planning department that will make sure that the signage is up and that the business owners have what they need in order to enforce it,” he said, adding that fines would only be issued in extreme situations.
Côte Saint-Luc will be giving masks to businesses and condos so they can give them to people who show up unprotected.
“Our plan is not to fine unless it’s extremely required. We believe that people will want this to work and that they will do the right thing,” Brownstein said.
New hand sanitizer dispensers will be also be installed by all elevators and doors.
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