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Mercier, Que., community reacts to mandatory masks following COVID-19 outbreak

The decision by officials in the Quebec town of Mercier to make masks mandatory in public places is finding reluctant support. More than 80 confirmed cases were linked to two house parties in the Montérégie region.
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The decision by officials in the Quebec town of Mercier to make masks mandatory in public places is finding reluctant support.

More than 80 confirmed cases were linked to two house parties in the Montérégie region. As result, Mercier Mayor announced Saturday that masks would soon be mandatory in the town.

Read more: Mercier, Que. to make masks mandatory after COVID-19 outbreak

“I think it’s a really good idea to make masks mandatory,” said Ashley Scutt, who works at the daycare right behind a McDonalds that had confirmed cases, which she said was too close for comfort.

“It scared me to thinking that we could get it. Our kids could get it and it was because of one careless party,” says Scutt.

However, she questions the reasoning behind the mandatory face-covering rule, which goes into effect on Wednesday. “I find it very careless for the government is that we are all doing it for this one party and it’s not because of everything else, it’s because of that one party that happened,” Scutt told Global News.

“I think it’s a big bummer because we were not required to wear it before that and now because of the party we are all going to have to wear it,” said Laurent Bienvenue, a resident of Mercier, located about 30 kilometres south of Montreal.

READ MORE: Coronavirus outbreak in South Shore after youth attend multiple parties: official

“I think that it’s a good idea to limit the propagation of the virus,” says Noumen Tuimman, Mercier Resident.

“I think that masks are so easy to carry on with you it’s such a small sacrifice for one person to do,” says Sophie Benoit.

The town of Saint-Chrysostome, Que., where the house parties were held last month, passed a similar rule Friday mandating mask-wearing inside all commercial businesses.

The virus spread through asymptomatic youth who attended the party and before developing any symptoms they went to the Mile Public House in the Quartier Dix30 shopping plaza on June 30.

Quebec’s public health director, Horacio Arruda, said Friday the house parties were the source of the outbreak.

Health officials also say they believe the parties are connected to a series of infections that forced several businesses to close in Mercier.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: More than 500 people show up to mobile testing clinic in Mercier

Hundreds of people lined up to be tested at a temporary COVID-19 screening clinic in the town of Mercier, Que. after news of the outbreak spread.

“I know a lot of family member, friends and people who went to that party who have tested positive for the virus. I think it’s a good thing more people got to do the test because it used to be further away for them to go test themselves” explained Bienvenue.

Bienvenue admits he’s not the biggest fan of wearing a mask but will he will comply with the rules.

“I know it’s not dangerous for me. However, I know it can be dangerous for elderly people and people with lungs and respiratory problems in general. I definitely will wear a mask when it’s going to be required too but right now I am not,” Bienvenue told Global News.

“For me, it’s easy to and everyone should wear a mask,” says Benoit.

With files from the Canadian Press.