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Mercier, Que. to make masks mandatory after COVID-19 outbreak

People line up to enter a mobile COVID-19 test clinic in Mercier, Que., Thursday, July 9, 2020. A small community south of Montreal is making mask-wearing mandatory beginning today inside all commercial businesses following a COVID-19 outbreak authorities say is tied to a house party.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson.
People line up to enter a mobile COVID-19 test clinic in Mercier, Que., Thursday, July 9, 2020. A small community south of Montreal is making mask-wearing mandatory beginning today inside all commercial businesses following a COVID-19 outbreak authorities say is tied to a house party.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson. Paul Chiasson / The Canadian Press

A second town south of Montreal plans to make masks mandatory in indoor public places after a COVID-19 outbreak linked to two house parties grew to about 80 confirmed cases in the Monteregie region this week.

The mayor of Mercier, Que., about 30 kilometres south of Montreal, said in a statement Saturday morning that the town intends to make face coverings mandatory as of July 15.

Lise Michaud said the new rule — which will be adopted at the next municipal council meeting on Tuesday — was agreed to after public health officials “strongly encouraged” wearing masks in indoor public spaces to stem the spread of the virus.

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

“We need to remember that the most recent outbreak in our region was caused by a private party. It is therefore important to stay vigilant, even when we’re staying at home,” Michaud said.

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The town of Saint-Chrysostome, Que., where the house parties were held last month, passed a similar rule Friday mandating mask-wearing inside all commercial businesses.

Quebec’s public health director, Horacio Arruda, said Friday the house parties were the source of the outbreak.

Health officials also say they believe the parties are connected to a series of infections that forced several businesses to close in Mercier.

Quebec reported 91 additional cases of COVID-19 on Saturday from the previous day, pushing the provincial total to 56,407 confirmed cases.