September 10, 2020 / 4:40 PM / 21 days ago

Quebec to fine people for not wearing face masks in indoor public areas

FILE PHOTO: A man enjoys a beer in a 3 Brasseurs restaurant on the first day after novel coronavirus restrictions were lifted to visit restaurants in Montreal, Quebec, Canada June 22, 2020. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

TORONTO (Reuters) - Quebec Premier François Legault on Thursday announced fines for people who fail to wear a mask in indoor public spaces as more Canadian provinces step up efforts to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

The fines are set to kick in on Saturday, though the details of the amount have not yet announced. Legault said fines would be more than C$50 (29.53 pounds). Quebec, the country’s second most populous province, has been hard hit by the epidemic and accounts for just under half of Canada’s 134,294 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the latest government data showed.

“There’s a minority of irresponsible people, those people are putting our health at risk especially that of the elderly ... it is time to penalize them,” Legault told reporters in Quebec City.

Earlier this week, British Columbia ordered the closure of all nightclubs and Ontario delayed an easing of remaining restrictions imposed to fight the coronavirus epidemic, as Canada reported a spike in new COVID-19 cases.

A total of 9,155 people have died from COVID-19 in Canada.

Authorities are on high alert for any fresh outbreaks, as most schools across Canada resume classes after being shut for more then six months. Alberta on Wednesday reported 16 coronavirus cases across as many schools, though most of the infections were acquired elsewhere.

Reporting by Mahad Arale; Editing by Paul Simao

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