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Baie-D’Urfé is ahead of the curve when it comes to wearing masks in public

Coranavirus: West Island town encouraging residents to wear masks
Baie d'Urfé is trying to get ahead of the curve by encouraging residents to wear face masks in public. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports, a group of volunteers along with city officials have been handing out free handmade masks and to early morning shoppers at a local store.

While Quebec provincial health officials are mulling over the idea of wearing masks in public, the town of Baie-D’Urfe is ahead of the curve.

For the last two weeks, a group of volunteers along with city officials have been handing out free masks and gloves to early morning shoppers at a local Provigo.

The initiative aims to protect the community’s most vulnerable.

“We want to make sure everybody keeps that social distance but also wears a mask because their masks protect you and your mask protects others,” said Baie-D’Urfe Mayor Maria Tutino.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Volunteers across Montreal are in mask-making overdrive

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The concept has gained momentum in the West Island community with many residents sporting new facial wear.

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“You walk down the streets and even young people are wearing them,” Tutino said.

Some 15 volunteers have sewed more than 300 handmade masks with various elaborate prints.

The mayor says the demand for masks has gotten too large for the volunteers to handle. She hopes to see the concept of wearing masks spread beyond her town’s borders.

“We are hoping this goes out not only in Baie D’Urfé, but in Quebec and in Canada. We want everyone to hear the message,” Tutino said.

READ MORE: Montreal health-care workers seek changes to testing protocols after repeat positive tests

Several states in America, such as California and New York, have made the wearing of masks mandatory when in public spaces.

The Canadian government has made it compulsory to wear a mask for all air travel.

In Quebec, the epicentre of the virus in Canada, provincial health officials have only encouraged people to cover their faces. Officials have so far stopped short of enforcing the use of face masks.

Only now are Quebec public health officials mulling the idea as they plan to gradually re-open businesses and schools.

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Sporting a brand new handmade mask, Liberal MNA Greg Kelley showed his support for the concept.

“Its an important way to protect others not just yourself. I’m very happy to be sporting this mask and supporting this initiative in my town,” Kelley said.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, Baie-D’Urfé has reported five cases of COVID-19.

It is expected that public health will announce new measures for face coverings next week when the Quebec government tables its plans to slowly restart the province’s economy.