Côte St. Luc council passed a draft bylaw Monday night requiring the wearing of masks in municipal buildings and local businesses, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and based on legal opinions received by council. The final bylaw is expected to be passed, possibly with some further changes, at an 8 p.m June 1 meeting, and it will be enforceable until the end of August.
The bylaw will also require “hand sanitizer at apartment buildings and condominiums, as well as signage indicating that masks be worn in elevators and common areas.” This bylaw will be enforced by the city’s Urban Planning inspectors.
Mayor Mitchell Brownstein explained that in stores, the bylaw will be enforceable against the store owner, not the customer. Thus, “store owners or managers cannot allow a customer inside their store who isn’t wearing a face covering.”
“We’ll facilitate that by providing disposable masks,” the Mayor explained. Those liable for fines regarding a lack of signage at apartment buildings or condos will be the owners of those buildings. “We don’t have the police or Public Security capacity to enforce that type of requirement against any individual,” Brownstein explained.
Fines for violations regarding apartment buildings and condos, and stores, are between $200 and $500 for a first offense. However, individuals will be fined if they do not wear masks in city buildings. “We’re going to be able to have an individual to do screening when people enter our buildings and ensure that they have a mask,” the Mayor said. “If not, we’ll give them a mask, and there, [if there is a violation] you can receive a fine from a Public Security officer.”
The fines regarding city buildings are between $100 and $500 for a first offense. Councillor Dida Berku, who moved the draft bylaw, explained that the bylaw will be enforceable at different times.
“The obligation to wear a mask comes into force June 1 for all those entering civic buildings,” she said. “There will be two weeks of a grace period for merchants to get up to speed on the distribution of masks before a fine or a penalty is instituted; and there will be one month for the apartment buildings and condos to set up their hand-washing equipment. At the same time, we’ll roll out a program to distribute masks, both disposable and reusable, to the public — we’ll make that available very soon.”