A number of Macau’s three- to five-star hotels at casino properties – hotels that had closed due to lack of customer demand during the coronavirus alert – are gradually resuming operations from Thursday (February 20), the same day the city’s casino industry started to reopen. The information was disclosed by a representative of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) during a press briefing by the local authorities.
The hotel at the MGM Macau casino complex – which had operations suspended with effect from February 14 – had resumed business, according to information on MGTO’s website. MGM Macau, located in downtown Macau peninsula, is operated by MGM China Holdings Ltd.
Hotels at casino resorts were not included in the original 15-day shutdown order on gaming operations – due to the mainland-China originating coronavirus alert – but some casino operators had chosen to shutter some of their hotels for operational reasons. Occupancy levels were said in some cases to have plummeted, coinciding with the casino shutdowns and a temporary ban on exit visas for residents of mainland China to visit Macau.
The hotel at Altira Macau, a casino property developed by Melco Resorts and Entertainment Group, has also resumed operations, showed the tourism office’s website. It had been temporarily closed since February 10.
The Four Seasons Hotel Macao – part of the complex that includes the Venetian Macao and the Plaza Macao, operated by Sands China Ltd – has also restarted operations. But two other five-star Cotai hotels promoted by the company – St Regis Macao, Cotai Strip; and Conrad Macao Cotai Strip – remained shuttered.
The Sofitel Macau hotel at the Ponte 16 casino complex; the Legend Palace Hotel, at the Macau Fisherman’s Wharf complex; and the hotel at the Royal Dragon property, part of the Golden Dragon Group; have also resumed operations, according to official data from MGTO.
Some of these hotels however are only accepting bookings for March onwards, according to the booking engines on their respective official websites.
Some small hotels still closed
As of Thursday, there was a total of 13 tourism accommodation facilities in Macau – mostly guest houses and small-scale hotels that are unconnected with casino resorts – that have temporarily suspended operations, accounting for an aggregate of 1,543 rooms, according to the tourism office.
The Macau casino regulator said on Wednesday that only 29 of the 39 active casinos in the city were to reopen after the stroke of midnight on Thursday. These casinos would only offer about 1,800 gaming tables, representing “below 30 percent” of the existing gaming tables in the market. The regulator had said the previous day that all reopenings of gaming venues would involve special arrangements regarding density of seating for customers at gaming tables and a minimum space being required between operational tables.
During Thursday’s conference, a Macau Health Bureau official said that representatives of a number of government departments – including the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau – had visited some of the city’s casinos to check if the operators were following the government guidelines.
“We have been to Venetian Macao and City of Dreams to see if they were complying with the [government] guidelines, regarding the distance between gaming tables, arrangements at staff canteens, and disinfection instructions,” said the Health Bureau representative. “We’ve seen that they did strictly abide by our guidelines.”
On Thursday, the operator of the Macau International Airport said that a number of flights to Macau were being cancelled until the end of March. The Macau International Airport Co Ltd confirmed to GGRAsia that about “180 flight movements” were being cancelled daily, involving routes to several cities in mainland China, as well as to Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asian countries.
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"The casinos have to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The decision [to suspend casino operations] is up to the government. As of now, we don’t have any plan to change the existing regulations"
Lei Wai Nong
Macau Secretary for Economy and Finance