SAQ closes 3 retail outlets north of Montreal after 8 employees catch COVID-19

The decision to close the stores, two in Blainville and one in Mirabel, was made at the recommendation of the public health authorities, the SAQ announced Wednesday.

Workers were asked to self-isolate after 2 locations closed in Blainville, 1 in Mirabel

Long lines have been common at SAQ outlets since March as the stores limit the number of people inside in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

After eight of its employees tested positive for COVID-19 recently, Quebec's liquor board is closing three retail locations north of Montreal.

The decision to close the stores, two in Blainville and one in Mirabel, was made at the recommendation of public health authorities, the SAQ announced Wednesday.

The three stores will be closed until further notice. They are: 

  • SAQ Sélection, 259 Seigneurie Boulevard, Blainville.
  • SAQ Dépôt, 1395 Michèle-Bohec Boulevard, Blainville.
  • SAQ Classique, 13370 Curé- Labelle Boulevard, Mirabel.

The earliest case is in Blainville where an employee who tested positive stopped working on July 17 at the location on Michèle-Bohec.

The most recent case at that location was on July 24, according to a section on the SAQ's website that updates customers on where employees recently tested positive for the potentially fatal disease.

Each of the three closed locations will be thoroughly cleaned by a specialized team. The SAQ says 17 of the 21 employees from the affected stores have been cleared by public health to resume normal activities.

The rest of the SAQ's retail outlets will remain open.

The SAQ says public health authorities have not identified any customers who need to self-isolate, but the liquor board encourages anybody who visited one of these three branches recently to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms.

The SAQ was among the essential businesses that were allowed to stay open during the nearly three-month economic shutdown. The liquor board says it has been following all safety protocols mandated by public health.

"The safety of our employees and our customers is paramount and all the necessary measures were in place to ensure this since the start of the pandemic," says Jacques Farcy, a vice president with the Crown corporation, in the statement.

"This is why we are, without hesitation, making the decision to close these branches today and to communicate this exceptional measure in full transparency to our employees, our customers and the public."

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