July 17, 2020
Steve Bouchard, Editor, Transport Routier
MONTREAL – As of Saturday, July 18, in Quebec, wearing a mask or face covering will be mandatory in closed or partially covered public places to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
What about a trucker who enters the facilities of a shipper or receiver to deliver documents, go to the bathroom or who must go to a customer’s warehouse? Are these facilities considered public places within the meaning of the regulations?
“The warehouses, workshops and facilities of a shipper are places considered to be closed workplaces,” said Marie-Claude Lacasse, from the Department of Public Affairs and Strategies of the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS). That means workplace preventive measures apply in that case.
Recommended measures for the workplace and workers include hand hygiene and the wearing of personal protective equipment if the workers are within two meters without physical barrier.
However, if the public or customers are allowed to travel to the location in question it becomes a public place.
“It is important to note that the waiting areas of businesses are considered public places,” said the Quebec Trucking Association (ACQ) in its weekly newsletter. Also, “a company may require the wearing of a mask indoors even if the government does not require it. Considering these facts, the ACQ recommends that each driver have a non-medical mask with him in case it is impossible to know when it might be required inside. ”
Truckers who, for example, go to a dealership or a parts store will have to wear a mask or face covering as of July 18. “A dealer’s showroom would be considered a public place and the mask would be required,” said Lacasse.
“If you have any question as to whether one should wear a mask, ask yourself whether citizens/customers have the authorization to circulate in the place in question. If the answer is yes, it is a public place.”
In a customer facility considered to be a closed workplace, a trucker who does not wear a mask could therefore not be issued a ticket.
“It is difficult for us to decide on hypothetical situations without having all the information,” Lacasse said. “In general, if it is not a closed place that welcomes the public, it would indeed not be compulsory to wear the mask, for example in a warehouse.”
If in doubt, however, it is better to wear the mask, recommends MSSS. “As the Prime Minister said in a press briefing, the goal is not to issue fines, but rather for people to work together in solidarity.”