MONTREAL -- Montreal public health authorities are urging customers and employees who have frequented or worked in bars in the region since July 1 to go for tests to find out if they have contracted COVID-19.

In a press release, the direction regionale de santé publique (DRSP) reported on Saturday that contagious customers or employees had visited at least five establishments since July 1. While authorities contacted some of them, several could not be reached.

According to public health, “it is very likely that other establishments were frequented by affected persons.”

The DRSP acknowledged that the proportion of new cases among young people aged 15 to 39 has increased in recent weeks in the region.

The urban environment head medical officer at the Montreal DRSP, Dr. David Kaiser says he fears that “these observations only reflect the tip of the iceberg” adding that community transmission is still present in Montreal.

He warned the population that the pandemic is not behind us.

“If we want to lessen the impact of a potential second wave, it is imperative that people who start to develop symptoms similar to COVID-19 and people who have potentially been in contact with cases must be screened and isolate themselves until they receive their results,” he said.

Thursday, the Quebec government imposed a curfew of midnight to end the sale of alcohol in bars and a demand that they close at 1 a.m.

Minister of Health Christian Dubé also imposed a customer limit of 50 per cent of the capacity provided for in the permit.

Dubé did not hide his concern at a sudden trend reversal, when public health authorities reported 137 new cases Thursday, more than double what was recorded in recent days.

Bar owners will also be encouraged to keep a customer registry on a voluntary basis.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 11, 2020.