Most Macau casinos reopened on Saturday (July 23) with limited operations as part of countermeasures against Covid-19, and with business volumes seen depressed as travel restrictions constrain the number of visitors from mainland China.
The local casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, confirmed to media that 35 casinos had resumed operations after the stroke of midnight on Saturday. Two casinos, at respectively Regency Art Hotel and Broadway Macau, remained closed as their associated hotels are currently being used for quarantine purposes.
The casino at Regency Art Hotel is run under the licence of SJM Holdings Ltd, while Broadway Macau is part of Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd’s portfolio of properties.
On Friday, the city completed a nearly two-week shutdown of non-essential businesses, including casinos.
Macau casinos were allowed to reopen with 50 percent of normal staffing and following strict disinfection guidelines, according to the local health authorities. As a general rule for non-essential businesses allowed to resume operations, there should be no more than one person per each 2 square metres (21.5 sq feet) of space. This applies to customers or users of a premises, and excludes staff that might be present.
GGRAsia has approached the city’s six gaming operators and the local regulator seeking clarification on whether such rules impact the number of gaming tables that can be put in operation by casinos under the current phase that started on Saturday.
The period July 23 to July 29 is part of what the Macau government calls a “consolidation” phase in terms of the current outbreak of Covid-19, during which most businesses deemed non-essential are being allowed to reopen. The local authorities have said such a phase might extend to another week after that.
Tourist volumes for reopened facilities are expected to remain low as, for now, there will be no easing of current travel rules between neighbouring mainland China city Zhuhai and Macau, according to the authorities.
Since June 19, people journeying inbound to Macau from Zhuhai have needed to present a certificate issued within 48 hours of departure, showing a ‘negative’ result for Covid-19 infection. From that same date, anyone wishing to leave Macau to travel into Zhuhai is required not only to show a ‘negative’ test certificate issued within 24 hours of intended departure, but also has to undergo on arrival, a seven-day quarantine in a Zhuhai government-designated facility.
Brokerage Daiwa Capital Markets Hong Kong Ltd said in a recent memo that it assumed border restrictions between Macau and Zhuhai to “revert back to the seven-day nucleic acid test requirement during fourth quarter 2022, which is necessary for a material recovery” of Macau’s gaming industry.
It added: “We reiterate our view that a Covid policy turnaround is now required for Macau as ‘Covid-zero’ is not a realistic goal over the long term.”
Macau had a total of 1,810 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of midnight on Saturday, in the current local outbreak since June 18. A total of 5 new infections was detected on Saturday, but no community case was reported that day.
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