RALEIGH (WTVD) -- To help protect the safety of lottery players and employees during the coronavirus outbreak, the North Carolina Education Lottery's claims centers are temporarily shutting down next week.
Beginning Monday, claims centers will be closed and are expected to last through Tuesday, March 31.
The centers are located in Raleigh, Asheville, Charlotte Greensboro, Greenville and Wilmington.
"At this time our primary focus is the safety of our employees, players and partners," said Mark Michalko, executive director of the lottery in a news release. "We are following the advice of local, state and federal officials. Closing our Claim Centers is an additional measure that is appropriate at this time to help protect our communities."
Players with winnings tickets are asked to sign the back of their tickets and store them away safely until you can claim your prize.
"We understand that many players do not want to travel to our offices at this time," Michalko said, "We want to assure those with winning tickets that their prizes will be paid."
In the meantime, lottery tickets with prizes up to $500 can still be cashed at retail locations.
Officials said lottery tickets with prizes of $600 or more can be mailed in, but winners should expect delays in processing the claims.
The Lottery plans to extend claim deadlines for all winning tickets that could expire soon.
NC Education Lottery temporarily closes Claim Centers amid COVID-19 pandemic