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COVID-19: Telephone alert #8

The following message was sent by phone to subscribers of the CSL emergency alert system on Sunday, May 10, 2020, at 5:40pm.

This is Mayor Mitchell Brownstein with an update on COVID-19. Last Monday, the city council tabled draft bylaw 2557. If adopted, tomorrow at our 8 p.m. special council meeting, the draft by-law would make face coverings mandatory at municipal buildings like city hall, and at stores. This means that when you go shopping, you will need to wear a face covering that covers your mouth and nose.

I wanted to share with you some of the common questions I’ve received.

Does the by-law force me to wear a face covering in parks or on while going on walks. The answer is No. However, we strongly recommend that you keep a face covering with you in case you find yourself in a situation where you can’t maintain the recommended 2 meter, or 6 foot, distance from others, like when walking through one of the underpasses.

Does the by-law force me to wear a face covering in my apartment building or condo? The answer is No. However, we strongly recommend it and are requiring that condo boards and apartment managers add a poster encouraging the wearing of masks..

Do apartment buildings and condos have to install hand sanitizing dispensers? The answer is Yes. In many cases, buildings have already taken care of this. But not every building has. And we want all residents to have easy access to hand washing in common spaces of their building.

Will the city be distributing face coverings? Yes. We will release details on the plan soon. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to purchase cloth or disposable face coverings. You can also make one at home using an old t-shirt and some elastic bands. You can find links to instructions at CoteSaintLuc.org/coronavirus.

Why should I be forced to wear a face covering? The short answer is because wearing one will protect other people around you if you have COVID-19 but don’t realize it yet. This is the same rationale as why smoking is prohibited at restaurants and stores. It’s to protect other people from you.

I would like to point out that our bylaw reflects what is working in democratic countries worldwide. Quebec presently has more than 50,000 recorded cases and more than 4,400 deaths. Countries who have enforced the wearing of masks are doing much better. Israel with a similar population to Quebec has about one-third the number of cases and only about 6-and-half percent as many deaths. Japan with a population 16 times our size has similar numbers as Israel. Face coverings will make it safer for people to visit stores, medical offices, hair salons, libraries, and other places. And re-opening the economy and people getting back to work is what we need to do.

To learn more about the by-law, visit CoteSaintLuc.org.

Every week comes news of changes to Quebec rules about what’s open and closed, how many people you can be around, and so on. It can get confusing. But whatever the rules are on any given day, don’t forget the goal, which is to prevent—as much as possible—people from getting infected.

So, yes, enjoy the summer. But spare a thought for all those who are afraid to go outside, because they worry about people without face coverings getting too close to them on the sidewalk, or at the grocery store.

Finally, over the past week, we have re-opened our tennis courts and splash pads. We’ve also rearranged the fences at some parks to create more paths for walking. In mid-June, our library will start loaning out books again by reservation. The front desk of city hall will also open around the same time. The Parkhaven Outdoor Pool will open in late June. We’ll announce dates for more re-openings soon, depending on what and when we are allowed based on the provincial health authority directives.

Thank you for taking my call today. I wish you and your family a safe and healthy summer.