The group that represents caregivers in Montreal is encouraging Quebec candidates on the campaign trail to remain vigilant and wear masks when meeting the public.
The call comes as photos circulated on social media showing Liberal candidate Isabelle Melançon hugging an elderly woman without a mask while visiting a seniors' residence.
"I think they are supposed to set an example. They told us the rules for two years, they showed us what we were supposed to do so even if it's an election, I don't think we should avoid being responsible," said Nathalie Déziel, the director of the Regroupement des aidantes et aidants naturels de Montréal.
Another photo shows CAQ candidate Shirley Dorismond doing the same thing. Quebecers will head to the polls on Oct. 3 for the provincial election.
A geriatrician at the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal shared the two images on Twitter this week, saying he was flabbergasted at what he was seeing.
"These people who are campaigning will be seeing a lot of people so there will be a very high risk of being infected with COVID in the next few weeks and then when you're infected of course there's a risk of transmitting it to people," Dr. David Lussier said Thursday.
In a statement the Liberals said they have always respected public health regulations and masks are no longer mandatory in seniors' residences.
But candidates should act as role models and wear masks even if they are no longer mandatory, Lussier said. The same goes for golden age gatherings and legions.
The association that represents retired people feels the same way.
"We know for a fact that seniors are the most vulnerable people in our society, so I think the least they could do is wear a mask," said Pierre Lynch, the president of the Association québécoise de défense des droits des personnes retraitées et préretraitées (AQDR).
"It's not only a lack of respect, it's irresponsible as an elected official or candidate. They need to get with the program," Lynch added. "Didn't they get the memo?"
The CAQ says its candidates are expected to wear masks when around vulnerable people in seniors' residences. Meanwhile, Quebec Solidaire has announced all of its summer campaign activities are being moved outdoors.