Police called to another Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu bingo of more than 150 people

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After an initial warning, a bingo hall south of Montreal that hosted 250 people on Friday, against public health guidelines, held another event Wednesday night with up to 170 participants.The Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu police were called and the organizers sent the participants home.

The city of Montérégie is in an orange zone, the second highest alert level for COVID-19 restrictions, until tomorrow when it becomes a red zone.

The Quebec health ministry clarified this week that in orange zones, the maximum number of people allowed inside a bingo hall is 25.

Montérégie public health officials say there was a positive case of COVID-19 linked to a bingo event on October 4 at the same location and they encourage everyone present that day to go for it. test.

People who attended Friday night’s event were trying to win a prize of $ 100,000.

But the venue still unfolded with another event on Wednesday, which was cut short by police.

The organization behind the events, HR Community Bingo, said on its Facebook page that it was following public health guidelines and was now closing as the region became a red zone.

The rules for the province’s orange zone are ambiguous, according to the bingo group

The association that represents bingo halls across Quebec says there was reason to believe these recent crowded events were allowed.

Eric Castonguay, the executive director of the Bingo Secretariat, says Wednesday night’s meeting was not your typical bingo meeting. He says it was a commercial event regulated by the Régie des alcools et des jeux du Quebec, which put it on par with casinos.

Castonguay pointed out that the province’s public health guidelines for restaurants, bars and casinos in orange zones provide for a maximum of six people to be seated at the same table, without specifying a limit for the number of people on the premises. .

Another of the province’s orange zone rules, he said, appears to give the green light to events like Wednesday night.

“There’s even a definition,” Castonguay said, referring to the rule. “That says ‘person seated’, ‘relatively still’, ‘speaking very little or not at all’ – it’s funny, it sounds like a bingo hall to me.

He says his group represents 25 commercial bingo halls across Quebec, bringing in more than $ 25 million to nonprofits.

He says that in recent months, both the Ministry of Health and the Commission de la santé et de la sécurité au travail (CNESST) have visited their facilities and that no violations have been reported.

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