Quebec premier defends decision to announce outdoor mask rule change first on Facebook

Quebec Premier François Legault is defending his decision to announce on social media changes to a public health measure aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

The Facebook post, which was issued late Wednesday afternoon, outlined the details of the province’s recent directive of wearing masks outdoors.

“It was a question of rapidity,” he told reporters at the provincial legislature Thursday.

Legault said he wanted to give the public precisions about the new rule, which has created confusion over when a mask is required when outdoors. With no press conference about the pandemic planned, the premier turned to social media to get his message across.

READ MORE: Quebec changes outdoor mask rule aimed at controlling COVID-19 spread

“I think the text was clear,” he said. “Lots of people called me and said it was clear.”

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Under the latest changes, people do not have to wear masks outdoors if they are able to physically distance. Masks are also not required during golf and tennis games.

“What’s important to understand is that the mask is obligatory when we can’t respect a two-metre distance,” Legault said Thursday.

The latest measure is meant to keep the public safe, Legault said, saying that the transmission of the virus is possible while outside.

READ MORE: COVID-19 has changed. Should our outdoor behaviour shift too?

“The British variant is very contagious,” Legault said. “It’s easier than ever to catch COVID even if we’re young.”

Prior to the changes Wednesday, the outdoor mask requirement garnered criticism from the opposition at the national assembly. Both the Liberals and Quebec solidaire both took aim at the Legault government for not properly explaining the new measure to the public.

With files from The Canadian Press

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