Canadian provincial gambling operator Loto-Québec will reportedly lay off 1,350 employees at its  Casino de Montréal and Salon de Jeux de Québec properties after on Monday Premier Francois Legault announced that Québec’s two most-populous cities, Montreal and Québec City, will enter into “red alert” from Oct. 1 as the second wave of COVID-19 hits, according to a source.

In addition to casinos, the new COVID-19 alert status is accompanied by the mandatory closure of restaurant dining, bars, theatres, movie theatres, and other reception halls in Greater Montréal, Chaudière-Appalaches, and a portion of the Capitale-Nationale region, except Charlevoix and Portneuf, from 12:01 AM Thursday.

In a statement in a company press release read…

“At this time, these temporary measures are necessary to protect everyone’s health and safety. Loto-Québec urges the public to exercise caution, particularly by limiting their travel between regions and following public health guidelines.”

Suspended activities:

Network bingo, Kinzo, and video lottery terminals (VLTs) in all of the newly-designated hot zones are also being suspended by the Crown corporation. The new guidelines, however, will not affect lottery sales and will reportedly continue across the operator’s retail network.

In other regions, VLTs and Kinzo activities will remain open, while network bingo will reportedly be offered in the evenings only.

Not affected:

Loto-Québec’s other six gaming properties including Casino de Charlevoix, the Casino du Lac-Leamy, the Casino de Mont-Tremblant, the Salon de jeux de Trois-Rivières, the Hilton Lac-Leamy and the Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu, will reportedly remain open to the public, while  Casino de Montréal and Salon de Jeux de Quebec are not expected to reopen until Oct. 28.

COVID-19 swell:

According to CBC News, the period from Sept. 23 – 29, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Quebec increased by 45 percent, while on Monday 750 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the province.

In response to provincial government measures to slow the spread of Covid-19, in March, Loto-Québec temporarily suspended retail operations, deciding instead to increase its online efforts. At that time, the Canadian operator halted the sale of tickets and also deactivated its sales terminals at retailers and in kiosks operated by non-profit organizations.

Beginning on May 4, 2020, the operator began to reopen sales terminals at certain retailers, while the lottery’s land-based casinos, bingo and gaming halls and its video lottery terminals (VLTs) located in bars and restaurants remain closed.