The city of Côte Saint-Luc, a majority Jewish unincorporated city situated on the western half of the city of Montreal, became the first municipality to require people visiting buildings and stores to wear a mask, according to a Global News report earlier this month.
Enacted as a bylaw in the city of Côte Saint-Luc, the measure makes wearing mandatory in indoor public spaces, such as stores and municipal buildings, starting July 1. Hand sanitizer will also be installed at the front of all buildings in the city. Business owners operating in the city will also be forced to turn away potential customers if they are not wearing masks.
"In order to help the businesses succeed, we want people to feel comfortable," said Côte Saint-Luc mayor Mitchell Brownstein, in an interview with the English-language Montreal radio station CJAD.
"So we are passing a bylaw that will require that all businesses have their customers wear masks when they enter," he added.
Brownstein also noted the prevalence of people wearing masks in the city, saying that "if you walk around the city of Côte Saint-Luc today, you'll see that close to 50 percent of the people are already wearing masks. And I think the message is very clear, that that is the way to be respectful for others. We have the highest percentage of seniors in the province, and we don't want to transmit the virus to them."
Meanwhile, Quebec's provincial government, responsible for overseeing quarantine measures and health policy, has stopped short of enforcing mask-wearing requirements, only strongly recommending that the public wear the masks.
Quebec Premier François Legault highlighted the difficulty of mandatory mask requirements in public, saying that “when you make 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.”
When asked how he intends to enforce the rules on mask wearing in the city, Brownstein said that “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.”