Quebec Makes the Wearing of Masks Mandatory in Indoor Public Spaces and in Shared Transportation Services

July 24, 2020

This post was originally published on July 15, 2020 and was updated on July 24, 2020

On July 13, 2020, the Quebec government announced that the wearing of face coverings in public places would become mandatory as of Saturday, July 18, 2020. On July 15, 2020, the government issued the Order in Council No. 810-2020 (available at the following link ) defining this new obligation to wear a face covering in public places. On July 22, 2020, the Quebec government issued the Order in Council No. 813-2020 (available at the following link), this time making the wearing of face covering mandatory in shared transportation services.

The Order in Council No. 810-2020 regulating wearing face coverings in public places

As of July 18, 2020, an operator of a public place will be prohibited from allowing a person who is not wearing a face covering to enter the public place, or to tolerate the presence in the public place of a person not wearing a face covering.

The Order in Council defines face covering as a mask or tightly fitting cloth that covers the nose and the mouth.

The following places accessible to the public are listed in the Order in Council as being covered by this new measure, insofar as they are enclosed or partially covered and are not an accommodation unit:

  • a retail business, a shopping center, or a building or room where a service enterprise is operated, including a personal care or beauty care enterprise;
  • a restaurant or a bar;
  • a place of worship;
  • a place where activities or services of a cultural or entertainment nature are offered;
  • a place where sports are played or recreational activities are carried on;
  • a rental hall or other place used to hold events, including conventions and conferences, or to hold receptions;
  • a place where municipal or government services are available;
  • a common area, including an elevator, of a tourist accommodation establishment;
  • a building or room used by an educational institution, excluding an institution providing preschool education services or elementary or secondary school general education instructional services for youth;
  • a train or bus station, a ferry terminal, a subway station or an airport; and
  • a private health consulting room or office.

It should be noted that the present Order in Council only applies to places that are accessible to the public. Therefore, private spaces in offices are not impacted by the present Order in Council, subject to further restrictions adopted by the government and the applicable occupational health and safety rules.

That said, the following persons are exempt from having to wear a face covering in a public place:

  • the person is less than 12 years of age;
  • the person states that the wearing of a face covering is not possible because of the person's medical condition;
  • the person is in the public place receiving care, being provided a service or engaging in a physical or other activity requiring the face covering be removed, in which case the person may remove the face covering for the duration of the care, service or activity;
  • the person removes the face covering momentarily to eat or drink, or for identification purposes;
  • the person works or practices his or her profession in the public place;
  • the person is a member of the public or a student in a place referred to in the sixth paragraph in the operative part of Order in Council 689-2020 dated 25 June 2020, so long as the conditions set out in that paragraph are respected;
  • the person is in a courtroom or is in a jury room;
  • the person is consuming food or a beverage in a restaurant, in a food court at a shopping center or food store, in a bar or in any other room used for the purposes of restaurant services or the consumption of beverages; or
  • the person is seated in a place, excluding a place of worship, and complies with one of the following conditions;
    • a distance of two meters is maintained between any other person who is neither an occupant of the same private residence or its equivalent nor a person providing a service or support; or
    • the person is separated by a physical barrier able to limit contagion of any person who is neither an occupant of the same private residence or its equivalent nor a person providing a service or support.

Notwithstanding the above exceptions, it will be prohibited for an operator to allow entry into an immovable, excluding a residential immovable, whether or not it is a public place, of any person, even one who works or practices his or her profession there, if the person is not wearing a face covering, or to tolerate the presence of the person in an entrance hall, a reception area or an elevator of the immovable if the person is not wearing a face covering. It should also be noted that a person who works or practices his or her profession in a public place will remain subject to the occupational health and safety rules.

An operator of a public place contravening the rules of the Order in Council No. 810-2020 may be liable to a fine of $400 to $6,000.

The Order in Council No. 813-2020 regulating wearing face coverings in shared transportation services

This new Order in Council will take effect on July 27, 2020. It prohibits operators of a shared transportation service (by bus, minibus, subway, boat, train or plane) to admit a person who is not wearing a face covering, or to tolerate the presence in such means of transportation of a person not wearing a face covering. The Order in Council No. 813-2020 contains the same definition of face covering as the one mentioned above.

The following persons are exempt from having to wear a face covering in shared transportation services:

  • the person is less than 12 years of age;
  • the person is a student at the preschool or elementary school level of the general education instructional services for youth and is in school transportation;
  • the person states that the wearing of a face covering is not possible because of the person's medical condition;
  • the person ordinarily works in the means of transportation;
  • the person is consuming food or a beverage in an area reserved for food services or the consumption of beverages;
  • the person removes the face covering momentarily to eat or drink, or for identification purposes;
  • the person is on a ferry and remains inside his or her vehicle.

The prohibitions provided for in the Order in Council No. 813-2020 also apply, subject to the same exceptions, to the driver of a motor vehicle used for remunerated passenger transportation otherwise that as part of the operation of a shared transportation service. However, carpooling is not covered by the Order in Council. It should also be noted that a person whose usual work place is a means of transportation or a motor vehicle that are covered by the new measure will remain subject to the occupational health and safety rules.

Operators of shared transportation services contravening the rules of the Order in Council No. 813-2020 may be liable to a fine of $400 to $6,000.

DISCLAIMER: This publication is intended to convey general information about legal issues and developments as of the indicated date. It does not constitute legal advice and must not be treated or relied on as such. Please read our full disclaimer at www.stikeman.com/legal-notice.

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