Hotel Royal Dragon, a three-star Macau property, has become the 10th local hotel to turn its facilities over to the Macau government – for an unspecified duration – to quarantine people arriving in the city during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Its new role started on Thursday, according to a press statement from the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) issued that day.
The 144-room hotel on Macau peninsula is part of a complex that includes Casino Royal Dragon, which operates under the gaming rights of Macau licensee SJM Holdings Ltd. Unlike some other casino-hotel complexes that are providing quarantine space, this time there is no requirement for the casino to shutter.
The city’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau – also known as DICJ – told GGRAsia by email in response to our enquiry: “As Casino Royal Dragon at the hotel has its own independent entrance and exit and the Health Bureau also did not request it to suspend operation, the casino can operate as usual.”
Nine hotels had already been designated by the government for quarantine use. The Royal Dragon property is part of the Golden Dragon Group, headed by Macau businessman and former legislator Chan Meng Kam.
Two other casinos – Casino Eastern and Casino Taipa – had been recently closed, coinciding with their linked accommodation facilities – Grand Lapa Hotel and Regency Art Hotel respectively – being used by the Macau government for the quarantine effort. Both casinos are run under the gaming rights of SJM Holdings.
Many hundreds of Macau residents – some studying abroad in places with high levels of coronavirus infection – have registered with the government their intention to return to the city during the pandemic emergency. Under recently-updated rules, they must undergo a 14-day period of medical observation in certain local hotels reserved for that purpose, before being allowed to go to their respective homes.
Inês Chan Lou, head of the licensing and inspection department at the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), said in a Thursday briefing to the media that the government would need yet more hotel rooms for quarantine use in the coming days, but didn’t specify numbers..
The official said that it was “technically possible” to make use of hotel facilities at a large-scale Macau casino resort for such quarantine work, as the government would be able to install temporary partitioning to seal off the such accommodation from the rest of a resort. Casino resort gaming floors are still open, as are shopping malls and some other non-gaming facilities.
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