As of today, Quebecers will no longer have to wear a mask in most indoor spaces in the province.

The province’s mandatory mask mandate has been in place since July 2020, for a total of 21 consecutive months, but it officially ends on Saturday, making Quebec the latest province to drop its mandate.

However, masks will still be required in some places, at least for now. This is what you need to know.

Where are masks no longer required?

Most indoor spaces in a Quebecer’s daily life will no longer require a mask, including grocery stores, gyms and restaurants.

Here is a list of places where masks are no longer required:

  • Retail businesses (including grocery stores and pharmacies).
  • Malls.
  • Restaurants and bars.
  • Places of worship.
  • Fitness centers and indoor gyms.
  • Personal care businesses, such as spas and salons.
  • Cultural and sports venues with spectators.
  • Government offices.

However, Quebecers can still wear a mask indoors if they wish. Similarly, a company may choose to impose its own mask rule.

WATCH | Quebecers react to the end of the mask mandate:

Montrealers react to end of mask mandate

While some Montrealers the CBC spoke to on Wednesday were happy to see an end to mask mandates, others, including some immunocompromised residents, raised concerns.

What about the schools?

Both primary and secondary schools will be able to remove their masks.

Students will no longer be required to wear a mask for any of their activities, whether they are in the classroom, in the cafeterias, or walking the halls. The same applies to teaching staff.

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The use of a mask will also be optional on school transport, since the students will have spent the whole day together.

Universities and CEGEPs may create their own rules requiring students and staff to wear masks.

When do I still need to wear a mask?

In Quebec, masks will still be required on public transportation, including taxis. Even if your destination doesn’t require it, if you get on a bus or subway, make sure you have a mask with you.

Dr. Luc Boileau, Quebec’s interim director of public health, said the province would consider lifting the public transport mandate at a later date, but no timeline has been given.

They will also be needed in healthcare settings like hospitals, where vulnerable populations are more likely to potentially be exposed to COVID-19. (However, mental health facilities do not require the mask.)

There are also federal rules about wearing masks, specifically in federally regulated industries. So masks are still required when boarding a plane or train, including at airports and rail terminals.

Are there times when I should still use one?

Yes. The Ministry of Health specified that masks are still recommended in certain situations, such as when around vulnerable people, such as the immunosuppressed, the elderly, and people at risk of complications.

Boileau said people should also wear a mask when they have symptoms, saying “you don’t have to be sure it’s COVID” to mask up and be cautious.

Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 should also wear a mask when around or interacting with others, for five days after their home isolation.

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While Quebecers will be able to remove their masks at pharmacies, Quebec’s pharmacist order has asked people to keep them on. He said vulnerable people often go to the pharmacy and wearing a mask would protect them and the employees.

Experts also pointed out that the masks not only work to counter COVID-19, but also influenza, which is widely circulating in the province. So if you’re worried about the flu, you can choose to stay masked.

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