Wearing a mask in closed shops and public places, compulsory since Saturday, does not seem to pose a problem in establishments
Almost all the customers encountered in shops in Quebec on Saturday respected the obligation to wear a face cover, despite a few distracted people forgetting and the spectacular arrest of a recalcitrant.
The North Shore News visited a variety of stores in Rosemère, Boisbriand and Saint-Eustache. The realization was that the vast majority is abiding by the new directives. Store owners expressed relief for the new rules since it normalizes a crucial protection. Residents speaking to NSN declared that there is less friction between customers now that everybody has to wear a mask. Incidents of North Shore residents resisting the new directive are very rare.
Sainte Thérèse resident Brianna Fasoli proudly sports her mask and declares “I choose to follow the directives and wear a mask, not only to protect myself, but out of kindness and respect to those around me. This protection is very important to me as I have family members who are put at risk by this virus and I not only want to protect them but the families of others as well.”
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Newsfirst visited a few businesses on this Plateau-Mont-Royal artery on Saturday and saw that merchants only have to mention the deposit to their customers so that they take a mask out of their bag and cover their faces.
The first victory goes to the silent majority
“We have zero problems. It’s not even a topic of conversation. People put on their masks,” says Nicolas Allard, from RONA on avenue du Mont-Royal in Montreal.
At the entrance of most businesses, employees reminded customers of the new directive. Some guards even gave masks to those who had none.
“We have completely forgotten”, laughs Pascale Desnoyers, 24, who had to turn back in front of the Simons of Carrefour Laval.
In Quebec City, about fifty people showed up at the Galeries de la Capitale without their face coverings during the day, but they did not hesitate to put it on when offered to them only one, saying he had asthma, refused.
For the entire agglomeration of Quebec City, the police received only seven calls on Saturday.
An expert is satisfied
“It reassures me a lot,” comments Christian Jacob, president of the Association des microbiologistes du Québec. I was a little scared,” he admits, referring to the many messages from anti-mask people circulating.
“I think it’s a minority that speaks very loudly,” says Jacob. Moreover, three Quebecers in four support the obligation of the face covering, according to a survey published by Le Journal.
Dr. Caroline Quach, epidemiologist, already noted this week that the wearing of masks was much more widespread than the previous week.
“I think we’ll get there,” she sums up.
The fact remains that we sometimes wear it badly. All over the place, it was easy to see employees touching their face covers without disinfecting their hands afterwards, especially at the checkouts.
It is in the corridors of shopping centers that the greatest lapses have been observed.
“Yeah, I know [I’m supposed to keep it], but I work here. Wear it 8 hours a day …”, admits a man crossed at Carrefour Laval, who preferred to keep his name silent.
These exceptions are not desirable, but it is difficult to assess their impact on the effectiveness of the face covering, since the virus is spread mainly during prolonged contact, explain the two experts interviewed.
The corridors of shopping centers count as closed spaces
Customers who lower their face coverings over their chin to talk to their partner or drink from their straw; men walking around with their masks in their hands rather than on their faces. It was in the corridors of shopping centers that the law was least respected on Saturday, dozens of people seeming to have forgotten that it was a closed place.
At Center Laval, there was nobody at the entrance to check if the mask was worn, as required by the new rule.
Most of the interventions that were witnessed by Le Journal at the entrance to shops yesterday were aimed at forgetful customers.
“We have [masks] at home. But we will [immediately] go and buy some,” explained Eric-Alexandre Dufort and Pascale Desnoyers.
The health measures to counter the COVID-19 pandemic were imposed gradually, which allowed both traders and customers to assimilate the instructions.
The manager of the Rona Le Quincailler hardware store, Nicolas Allard, ensures that the customers are very disciplined. “We have zero problems. It’s not even a topic of conversation, people put on their masks. We had prepared, we had our surgical masks in case someone didn’t. People have their masks on, and since the announcement, we have seen the wearing of masks increase, ”says the one who has worked at the hardware store for 20 years.
An employee of the Royal Dollar Pierre Jetté also notices that the customers respect the instructions. “We may have met two people who did not have a mask, but it was in their pocket. Since this morning, it has been working well. At the beginning [of deconfinement], there were a lot of people who came with masks, before it was compulsory,” he adds.
In the cafes
Come to work at the Café Le Placard, Gabrielle Comtois ensures that she has been carrying a mask in her bag for a few weeks now. “It’s nice to be able to take it off when you settle down to work. I also understand the rule of when I get up, I have to put on my mask,” explained the client.
The restaurateur of the same café, François Audet, notes that his clientele has been different in recent days. However, customers respect the instructions to wear a mask. “I sold the most a few weeks ago. In recent days, I’ve been selling more masks than coffee! ” he says, blaming the construction holidays. “It may also be the wearing of a compulsory mask, or the pedestrianization of Avenue Mont-Royal”, he supposes.
A mask at the gym?
Sports and bodybuilding centers must, like shops and restaurants, impose the wearing of masks indoors. However, the mask can be removed when athletes are doing machine repetitions or running on treadmills.
“We have to wear it between the machines and the various exercise stations. It is permissible not to have it while exercising. So, there is a lot of “take and put back”. But we disinfect the machines, so we have a little less risk of contagion, even if we handle the mask a lot,” said José Charles, a member of Éconofitness on avenue du Mont-Royal.