Macau casino operators have been instructing their gaming floor staff that wearing a protective face mask is not obligatory, a gaming labour leader has told GGRAsia.
But many staff and casino customers are still masking voluntarily, based on GGRAsia’s observations in the downtown casinos and in Cotai-district resorts on Monday. Many locals and visitors were also still wearing masks on the streets.
At the weekend the Macau authorities issued an advisory notice that from Monday (February 27) it should be safe to go mask-free in most outdoor and indoor locations – due to the abated risk from Covid-19 locally. But the city’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre mentioned that in places where people gather in numbers, it would be left to the discretion of venue operators whether to ask people to cover up their mouth and nose. Even before Monday, such precautions were not mandatory in most situations, except for a brief period during a June local outbreak of Covid-19 that spread into July.
A memo seen by GGRAsia issued by Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd, said that staff and clients could choose whether or not to mask from Monday onward.
Cloee Chao Sao Fong, head of local gaming labour activist group New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association, told GGRAsia: “As far as we know, all casinos allow their table game staff members to freely choose whether or not to put on a mask.”
When on Monday GGRAsia visited respectively Grand Lisboa, MGM Macau, Wynn Macau, and StarWorld Hotel on Macau peninsula, masks were not even required for entry to the venues. The same applied to Cotai properties City of Dreams Macau, the Venetian Macao, and Galaxy Macau.
“[Gaming] patrons knew they are not obliged to put on masks, but they still do it… perhaps they are… used to this habit [since the Covid-19 pandemic], which gives them a bigger sense of safety,” Ms Chao remarked to GGRAsia.
Her labour group understood that many casino staff still chose to wear masks, given their long hours of face-to-face interaction with gaming patrons, Ms Chao added.
GGRAsia has approached the six Macau operators asking them to confirm their current protocols on mask use on their premises.
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