Due to the increasing number of cases of the unprecedented situation, the provincial government of Quebec has resorted to suspending some social activities. Following, the provincial order Loto-Québec announced that casino properties in the province will be temporarily closed down. Additionally, VLTs, bingo, and Kinzo offerings at bars will also be suspended.
The sentiment at Loto-Québec quickly changed after the announcement from the provincial government, as the Crown corporation will once again suspend operations at casinos. At the same time last year, the agency had to close down casinos and thus leaving more than 2,300 employees without work. Now, it remains to be seen how long properties will be shut down for.
On Monday, after the province announced the new set of restrictions, Loto-Québec informed that it will be assessing the situation. The Crown’s idea is to transfer most of its employees to customer services, as it did in the last lockdowns. This way the company will be able to keep most of the staff members and provide them with work during the closure.
President and CEO of the Crown corporation, Jean-François Bergeron, commented that the company has already faced a similar crisis and the team knows how to react now. It is currently unknown how long casino properties among other businesses will be out of the game. The Crown also informs that VLTs, bingo, and Kinzo offerings at bars will also be unavailable.
This week, the state-run corporation also published its fiscal numbers for its second quarter of 2021-2022, which concluded on September 27, 2021. During the quarter, the corporation reports CA$388 million of profits, which is a 58% rise compared to the same quarter a year back. The company also informs that is close to hitting its annual targets.
Additionally, Mr. Bergeron shared that prior to the latest restrictions, the company was hopeful to return 90% of the pre-unprecedented situation profit to the government, which is around CA$1.1 billion. He concluded by saying that the recent closure will add additional pressure on the company’s finances, however, it is dependent on how long properties will stay shut down.
No Plans for Mandatory Immunizations
A while back Loto-Québec announced that it will not require its staff members to get vaccinated for the unprecedented situation. The Crown insisted that it does not agree with other provincial institutions that made immunizations mandatory for their workers. At the time Mr. Bergeron said that the company is not aware of the exact vaccination rate of its employees but believed that it was around the provincial one of 77%.
Violations of Protocols
Recently, the corporation’s Casino Lac-Leamy in Gatineau was involved in a controversy regarding the provincial health and safety rules. An investigation conducted by Radio-Canada determined that patrons of the gaming amenity did not comply with the mask mandates imposed by the provincial government. Additionally, while guests had their masks off no staff member reminded them to put them back on.
Source: Stone, Tailor “Dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases: Loto-Quebec closes its casinos”, The Bobr Times, December 20, 2021