Despite most industrialized countries dropping COVID restrictions and learning to live with the virus, the Quebec government is seeking to buy an additional 30 million masks for school children and staff.
The government says that for now, masks will not be required for the return to school, but only if the current situation does not change.
With COVID-19, seasonal peaks are to be expected in the fall. Cases will likely rise and there is a growing fear in the province that the Quebec government will bring back restrictions.
The Quebec government of François Legault has prided itself on having the most COVID restrictions of all north-american governments. For much of 2021, restaurants and stores were forcibly closed down, and the government imposed a vaccine passport to enter restaurants and retail stores.
The government also imposed a mandatory curfew twice, with fines of over $1,500 for individuals breaking the curfew.
“With 30 million adult masks, the Department of Education anticipates being able to distribute masks for a month and a half if masks are required to be worn at all times. If not, masks will be available for those who wish to continue wearing them”, a spokesperson for the education minister said.
The Quebec government says it’s seeking to buy the 30 million masks so that schools “may comply with the health measures that will be set forth by Public Health […] during the 2022-2023 school term”, confirming the government is likely to bring back mandatory masking.