Here in the Canadian Province of Quebec, as of last Saturday, it is a finable offence to be in an indoor public space without wearing an appropriate COVID-19 mask. Masks are not required outdoors, nor in private dwellings. They are required in bars and restaurants when one is moving about, for instance entering, leaving, or going to the washroom. As the saying goes ‘off your ass, wear a mask’.
I have written about how impressed I have been with various levels of law enforcement looking the other way when laws are being bent or broken during the pandemic. While people are dealing with different stages of confinement, it is no time to be cracking down on physically-distanced parties in public parks, nor on the egregious act of having a beer or glass of wine.
However, a person who runs into a store to pick-up a loaf of bread and forgets to put on his or her mask, should get off with a reminder shout and the immediate donning of a mask
With this in mind I do hope that those tasked with enforcing the new law will show a similar sense of judgement. A person who balks at wearing a mask in an indoor public place, who understands the law but refuses to comply (for non-medical reasons), should be removed and fined. The fines are certainly hefty, with a maximum set at $6,000!
However, a person who runs into a store to pick-up a loaf of bread and forgets to put on his or her mask, should get off with a reminder shout and the immediate donning of a mask. The mask concept is still very new, and will take some months or years to get used to.
Given the seriousness of this situation, both in terms of health and wealth, it is imperative we get things right
This brings up another issue: who will enforce the law? Given the seriousness of this situation, both in terms of health and wealth, it is imperative we get things right. Will the government spend money to hire and train ‘Mask Police’? Will existing police officers, already stretched in doing their job, be given this responsibility?
Then again, this is the province that actually has language police (inspectors) who go about ensuring the language laws are being obeyed, and handing out fines for scofflaws. I guess anything is possible.
It’s sunny if a bit cool today, but I think I’ll go sit in the park and drink beer. Perhaps I’ll make a toast to those law enforcement officials who have shown good judgement and to those charged with monitoring the mask law, hoping they will follow suit.