Several Macau casino resort operators have started offering overnight accommodation in Macau to staff that usually need to commute daily from and to Zhuhai on the mainland.
The arrangement follows tightened health checks for travel between the mainland’s Guangdong province and Macau, amid a rise in Covid-19 cases on the mainland.
Starting from 10am on June 8, people intending to enter Macau from Guangdong must present a ‘negative’ test certificate regarding Covid-19 infection, and it must have been issued within the prior 48 hours.
Before the new requirement, it had been sufficient for travellers from the mainland to present a test certificate issued within seven days of their intended arrival in Macau.
The shorter test window poses increased travel costs for Macau casino staff who live in Zhuhai and have to commute to their Macau workplace daily, said Cloee Chao, head of local gaming labour-activist group, New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association, to GGRAsia.
Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd is inviting its Zhuhai-domiciled staff to apply for free accommodation for a period of up to 30 consecutive days, provided they do not leave Macau in that time, Ms Chao told GGRAsia.
GGRAsia sought to confirm the details with Sands China, but had not received a reply by the time this story went online.
“Sands China has made a good move for its workers,” Ms Chao said, adding that she hoped more casino companies would offer similar temporary arrangements.
“Many of the current Covid-19 test stations at the casino resorts here have not been that well-utilised, so what we also hope for is that these stations can offer test service for staff as well,” Ms Chao remarked. “Then these staff with commuting needs do not need to queue for hours at the other virus test stations in the city.”
The promoters of so-called satellite casinos under SJM Holdings Ltd licensing at respectively Macau Fisherman’s Wharf, and Ponte 16, have also offered Zhuhai-based staff free accommodation at their properties while work is under way to control the Guangdong cases, according to information provided to GGRAsia.
Hoffman Ma Ho Man, an executive from one of the investors in Ponte 16, confirmed to GGRAsia the arrangements at that site.
“We have segregated floors amounting to about a hundred rooms – with two staff members per room – so that staff that live in Zhuhai can stay in Macau,” said Mr Ma, deputy chairman and executive director at Hong Kong-listed Success Universe Group Ltd.
He noted to GGRAsia that the cost of the rooms was charged from an accommodation subsidy already offered to staff.
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Aggregate number of licensed junkets in Macau as of January 2022