VANCOUVER -- All of the province's casinos will be shut down by the end of the day, gaming officials said in a statement Monday.

The B.C. Lottery Corporation said all casinos, as well as community gaming centres and bingo halls, would be closed as of 11:59 p.m.

The closure follows a directive from the province's top doctor regarding gatherings of 50 or more people in B.C.

At a news conference, provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said the move to cancel those gatherings is "aligned with what we're seeing in the United States."

BCLC said that, in making its decision, it put the health of players and employees "at the forefront."

Previous safety measures put in place at B.C. casinos include turning off every second slot machine to increase the distance between players, and removing seats at table games.

Facilities will not be re-opened until the province determines it's safe to do so, BCLC said.

Over the weekend, a casino operator posted online that it was closing 10 gaming facilities. 

"While there have been no cases of COVID-19 reported at Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, this measure has been deemed to be in the best interests of the public's health and the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19," the company said in a statement on its website Sunday evening.

The group operates casinos in B.C., Ontario and the Maritimes. On the West Coast, those facilities include the River Rock Casino Resort, Hard Rock Casino Vancouver, Bingo Esquimalt, Chances and the Hastings Racecourse and Casino.