Coronavirus Canada Updates: Case linked to Quebec bingo hall that’s held two events with hundreds of attendees

Coronavirus Canada Updates: Manitoba has completed more than 500K COVID-19 tests
Coronavirus Canada Updates: Manitoba has completed more than 500K COVID-19 tests

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé is saying there was a “lack of judgement” after a bingo hall organized yet another event on Wednesday night with hundreds of attendees.

The Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu community bingo hall caught the attention of social media after it was shown with 250 attendees on Friday, Oct. 4., who were playing for a $100,000 prize.

Quebec health officials clarified earlier in the week that bingo halls in “orange” zones should be limited to only 25 people. But that didn’t stop organizer HR Community Bingo from hosting approximately 170 people on Wednesday, before it was shut down by police.

“I think that’s a lack of judgment, I’m sorry, that’s a lack of judgment,” said Dubé. “So that’s a bit annoying.”

To make matters worse, on Thursday, public health officials in Montérégie announced that there’s one case among the participants who were at the bingo event on Oct. 4. Officials are recommending everyone who was at the event to get tested at a mobile clinic that’s being set up for Friday.

The Montérégie region is currently in the “orange” level of the province’s colour-scale, which indicates the severity of the virus in the region. It’s set to move to “red” (the highest) on Friday.

According to CBC, HR Community Bingo organizers believed they were able to host the bingo night since it is a commercial event regulated by Quebec’s liquor and gaming board. Therefore, it puts it on par with casinos, which don’t have a set capacity limit in “orange” zones.

“This isn’t a matter of saying that you could or not do it,” said Dubé. “Should you do it? Should you invite aged people in a room that will they will yell and say what they’re happy that they won.”

The health minister noted that people are “very good at finding the little hole” in the rules, and should instead use that creativity to find ways to protect the people they initially invited to bingo. He’s now afraid of the consequences the province might see after the reported case on Thursday.

“Bingo should not be their karaoke that we saw in Quebec City,” he said, since a karaoke bar in Quebec City made national headlines in September after at least 80 cases were linked to the venue.

On Friday, Dubé and Premier François Legault also issued some directives for Halloween.

“This year Halloween is only for kids,” said Legault, noting that adults should be having parties.

Kids will be able to collect candy by going door-to-door, but only with members of their households. Adults who distribute candy should do so with a two-metre distance.

Legault also anticipates that restrictions in “red zones” will last more than the original timeframe of 28 days.

“My hope is that we’ll be able to see our friends and family at Christmas,” said Legault. “It’s too early to say what form that might take but it won’t be large gatherings.”

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