Macau Casinos Continue To Operate Despite Detection of COVID-19 Cases
Casinos in Macau will continue to operate despite new COVID-19 cases being confirmed in the region.
Several entertainment venues have closed their doors from August 5 in compliance with an executive order released by the government.
However, Macau’s Chief Executive Ho lat Seng allowed the casino industry to keep operating saying that the cases were not detected at the casinos.
The Chief Executive said that the current situation is different from last year, when the government ordered the temporary closure of casinos after two casino employees tested positive for COVID-19.
Macau’s casino industry is projected to generate MOP 130 billion (US$16.2 billion) in gross gaming revenue for 2021, but uncertainty surrounding the pandemic could cause the final figures to go below expectations, and if that happens, the local government would have to make changes to its budget for the current fiscal year, Macau’s leader said.
Since August 4, local authorities have begun conducting mass testing as part of immediate pandemic prevention measures employed by the government after four locals belonging to the same family were infected by the more contagious Delta variant.
The infection reportedly originated from a daughter in the family who was suspected to contract the virus while travelling by air from Zhuhai, Guangdong to Xi’an in central China. The infected woman returned to Macau on July 25. Health authorities classified her case as “imported”.
Upon examining the travel histories of each of the new cases, it was discovered that none of them had been to any casino in Macau during the relevant time period.
Investment research and institutional asset management firm Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd said that Macau casinos would not be hit by the government’s temporary closure order, unless a widespread outbreak occurs.
Situation Should Be Under Control In 14 Days
Macau’s Chief Executive said the government might carry out further mass tests, depending on the severity of the situation, but they’re hoping that the virus could be contained within 14 days so the region would be able to return to a state of normalcy.
Macau’s tourism sector, which had been greatly affected by the pandemic, had begun to recover over the past few months after opening in Fenruary, but the recent closures hitting several entertainment and leisure establishments are expected to stall progress.
Macau residents are advised to limit non-essential outbound travels for the rest of the summer break to protect themselves from COVID-19.