Montreal public transit set to enforce mask-wearing measure as of July 13

A commuter rides a near empty subway train in Montreal, on Monday, May 25, 2020. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) is getting ready for the Quebec government’s new public health measure, set to be enforced on Monday.

Commuters will be asked to wear a mask or face covering while riding the bus or metro as of July 13.

“Our strategy is to make it easy for them to respect the new rule,” said the STM’s Chairman of the Board of Directors Philippe Schnobb.

Read more: Quebec reports 100 new coronavirus cases as Montérégie municipalities opt for mandatory face masks

“Downtown is getting more and more busy, so I think it’s a good initiative, and as much as it,s uncomfortable, you get used to it,” said public transit user Emma Di Matteo.

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Montreal public transit authorities said they’ve received $1.5 million worth of reusable masks to distribute across the network from the provincial government.

“Masks will be available in our agents booth, our inspectors will have masks and buses will have messages saying you have to wear a mask,” said Schnobb.

Metro users said they feel relieved knowing the important tool will be offered.

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“I think the biggest issue of it being mandatory is that people had to be supplied,” said Di Matteo.  “I think once it’s supplied, people will be more prone to wearing it.”

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante announced last week masks would become compulsory in enclosed public places as of July 27.

The STM hopes this will help ease the burden off employees to enforce the rule themselves.

“That will help if you have a mask. If you need a mask to go to the grocery, obviously you will wear a mask on the metro,” said Schnobb .

Read more: Montreal to make masks mandatory in enclosed public places

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On the contrary, however, some think people will still manage to ignore the rule.

“I think there will be a lot of pressure for it to work. A lot of people won’t buy a mask,” said public transit user Jean-Frederic Gagnon.

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Beginning July 20, some buses will be equipped with sanitary protection, allowing access to the front door.

The measure, which forces people to pay again, will be introduced gradually as buses will be outfitted with barriers to protect drivers.

It will start with buses at Frontenac and Saint-Denis bus garages and in the next few weeks will expand to Mont-Royal, Legendre, Anjou, Stinson, Lasalle and Saint-Laurent.

Sanitization will also continue throughout the network, but some frequent metro riders said they’ve never actually seen anyone clean contact zones.

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“To be honest, I don’t see any cleaning done. I just see the signs that says there’s cleaning,” said Di Matteo.

“I didn’t see any sanitizing and stuff but I think they do it.” said Gagnon.

“I mean, I trust them.”

The STM said it hoped the new rules will encourage Montrealers to feel safe enough to take public transit once again.

The service said it has already seen an increase in traffic in recent weeks.

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