You Can Now Get Fined $4,500 for Not Wearing a Mask in This North American City

In an effort to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 affecting Quebec, officials for the city have approved new rules that will allow police to issue fines for people who don't wear masks in public places.

The Montreal Gazette reported that Public Security Minister Genevievé Guilbault shared that the Cabinet gave the approval for police to issue tickets to people that didn't wear face coverings when at indoor public places.

La très grande majorité des Québécois respecte les règles sanitaires et je les en remercie. Pour les récalcitrants, les amendes pour refus de porter le masque dans les lieux publics intérieurs seront de 400 $ à 6000 $. Cet outil sera à la disposition des policiers dès demain.

— Geneviève Guilbault (@GGuilbaultCAQ) September 11, 2020

In a tweet announcing the rule on Friday afternoon, Guilbault wrote that while many residents in her city had respected the rules, the police will enforce the penalty for people that won't listen.

"The vast majority of Quebecers respect health rules and I thank them for that. For the [unwilling], the fines for refusing to wear the mask in indoor public places will be from $400 to $6,000. This tool will be available to police from tomorrow," she wrote.

The high end of those fines translates from $6,000 Canadian dollars to $4,553.22 in U.S. dollars at the current exchange rate, according to Google Finance. The minimum fine of $400 in Canadian dollars equals $303.55 in American dollars.

Quebec Premier (the head of the government in the province) François Legault spoke about the precautions that must be taken to prevent a second wave during a press conference on Friday. Legault said that combatting the virus was important if Quebecers wanted to return to normal life. "If we want to return to a normal life, if we want to take up challenges like that of the economy, well, there is something like a prerequisite, there is a kind of first condition which is to have control of this pandemic, there, to stop the spread of the virus as much as possible," he said.

Despite setting the new fines, Legault called on citizens to do their part in helping slow the virus' spread. "I could put in place all possible measures, then our government, then our Minister of Health, then our Minister of Public Security can set all the fines, then the regulations, then the instructions. It remains that we need the collaboration of Quebecers. We know that a large part of the cases of transmission occur in homes. So we cannot start going to check everything that is going on in all the houses in Quebec," he said.

A press contact for the National Assembly of Quebec did not respond to Newsweek's emailed request for comment in time for publication.

Some American cities have also announced that police will start issuing fines for people in public spaces not wearing masks. According to NPR, New Yorkers who don't wear a face covering while riding on public transportation can be fined $50. ABC7 reported that a number of California cities will fine citizens who don't wear masks anywhere from $25 to $2,000 depending on the city and number of offenses. Businesses can also be fined up to $10,000 depending on the city.

Police Mask
A Port Authority police officer stands watch on the day the new COVID-19 testing facility XpresCheck became available for passengers at Newark Liberty International Airport Terminal B on September 8, 2020 in Newark, New Jersey. In Quebec, people not wearing face masks in indoor public places may be fined between $400 and $6,000 dollars by police. Getty/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez