MONTREAL -- Montrealers are heading outdoors to enjoy the spring weather, but confusion remains over which of the activities they're engaging in require masks.

On Saturday, many people headed to the city's parks, glad for a chance to socialize, albeit with physical distancing, after a lonely winter.

“The nice weather is here, so we're trying to see our friends slowly in small groups outdoors, trying to stay sane,” said one park-goer.

But when meeting those friends from other households, a mask is required if people are not standing two metres apart at all times.

While the science has shown that COVID-19 does not travel well outdoors, epidemiologist and cardiologist Chris Labos warned that the risk is not zero.

“(The new rules) will probably help to some degree, especially now in the summer. If people are going to be having picnics and gatherings outdoors thinking they're safe, well, they're not entirely safe,” he said. “The new variants, because they are a little bit more transmissible, makes it more likely that if you're in a certain situation, you could pass the virus on the someone else.”

Montreal police said they have officers patrolling to look for violations of public health rules, but will “invite those not respecting the new rules to comply... and may hand out tickets to those who ignore their instructions.”

Violation of public health rules can come with a fine of up to $1,550.