Most of the 37 casinos in Macau reportedly re-opened for limited business from Saturday morning following the completion of an eleven-day lockdown instituted after a large number of locals tested positive for coronavirus.
According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, gambling-friendly properties in the former Portuguese enclave were ordered to close from July 11 after the local tally of active coronavirus infections reached north of 600. The source explained that Macau casinos have now been permitted to re-open only if they agree to abide by a strict set of pandemic-related precautionary measures including heightened social distancing rules and a provision that temporarily halved their workforces.
All customers visiting a casino are reportedly required to present a negative rapid antigen test result and wear a facemask rated N95 or above. Until Sunday and this mask provision is to moreover purportedly apply to anyone leaving their home with workers of all stripes being asked to take a more sensitive nucleic acid test every two days.
Macau is home to slightly more than 682,000 people and is reportedly looking to imitate mainland China’s ‘zero coronavirus’ strategy of isolating every infected person. The city’s government purportedly instituted an analogous 15-day lockdown in February of 2020 and intends to hold a mass nucleic acid testing session on Saturday and Sunday while requiring all residents to take daily rapid antigen tests.
On a Monday visit to Macau and Inside Asian Gaming reported that the iconic Casino Grand Lisboa venue was running a mere ten mass-market gaming tables being enjoyed by just eight customers. The source explained that it was similarly deserted at the nearby The Venetian Macao and Wynn Macau properties as these were also operating ten tables serving a mere 15 and 20 patrons respectively.
For its part and GGRAsia reported that the casinos within the Regency Art Hotel and Broadway Macau remained closed today as their associated hotels are being used for quarantine purposes. This source noted that these venues operated by SJM Holdings Limited and Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited respectively are the sole pair not to have re-launched operations following the lockdown loosening.
Financial services specialist Daiwa Capital Markets Hong Kong Limited reportedly told GGRAsia that it expects Macau’s tourist volumes to remain low as there has been no easing of the strict travel rules between the city and neighbouring mainland China, which include a requirement for tourists to present a negative coronavirus test not more than 48 hours old. The brokerage purportedly went on to declare that it expects the enclave to ease such restrictions by ‘reverting back to the seven-day nucleic acid test requirement’ sometime before the end of the year.
Reportedly read a statement from Daiwa Capital Markets Hong Kong Limited…
“We reiterate our view that a coronavirus policy turnaround is now required for Macau as the ‘zero coronavirus’ strategy is not a realistic goal over the long term.”