Metro Manila casinos are “currently allowed to operate at limited capacity,” said the Philippine gaming regulator, in response to an enquiry from GGRAsia.
The move followed an easing in Covid-19-related restrictions in Metro Manila. Beginning on May 15, Metro Manila and its four adjacent provinces – Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal – were put under general community quarantine “with heightened restrictions”. They will be kept under such status at least until May 31.
There was no information provided to GGRAsia by the gaming regulator regarding the precise date resumption of casino operations had been permitted; whether venues had taken up the option; and if so, what percentage of capacity was prescribed.
GGRAsia approached the Entertainment City resorts – City of Dreams Manila, Okada Manila, Resorts World Manila, and Solaire Resort and Casino – seeking confirmation on whether they were allowed to, and were in fact already operating, their respective casinos.
GGRAsia had not received any information on the topic from those venues at the time this story went online.
In late March, the regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, had confirmed to GGRAsia that all casinos in the Metro Manila area – public-sector as well as private-sector ones – had suspended gaming operations due to the national government reintroducing at that time a so-called enhanced community quarantine as a Covid-19 countermeasure.
Since that time, adjustments have periodically been made to the quarantine terms for Metro Manila, but without reference to what impact if any, that would have on whether casinos could restart.
In early May, Andrea Domingo, head of the Philippine casino regulator, reportedly said in an online forum that three casino resorts in Manila had “started” online play for table games and slots. She did not identify the venues.
A Friday statement from Harry Roque, spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte, said that the country’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases had approved so-called staycations at hotels within that country.
The announcement said a total of 15 hotels in Metro Manila – including some casino hotels – had so far been approved for the staycation scheme, after being granted “certificates of authority to operate for staycation” by the country’s Department of Tourism. The hotels involved would be able to operate “up to 100 percent” of venue capacity.
The scheme includes: Okada Manila casino resort; Solaire Resort and Casino; Nobu Hotel, Hyatt Regency and Nüwa Manila at City of Dreams Manila; and Sheraton Manila Hotel, Hilton Manila and Hotel Okura Manila at Resorts World Manila.
The move, approved on Thursday, said guests in accommodation establishments in general community quarantine (GCQ) zones “shall only come from the same household”.
It added that the staycation hotels may also “forego with a Covid-19 testing of guests” as a prerequisite for accommodation, “as long as only 18 to 65 years old shall be allowed as guests.”
Quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and its four adjacent provinces were likely to be relaxed in June, said the presidential palace in a Thursday statement.
(Updated at 9.19am, May 31)
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