The Philippine authorities have extended the anti-coronavirus lockdown of the country’s main island Luzon until April 30, according to a government statement on Tuesday (April 7).
The statement did not clarify what – if anything – that would mean for the island’s bricks and mortar casino industry, which since mid-March had been subject to a business pause due to last initially until April 14. In late March the head of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), the nation’s casino regulator, had been cited as saying she would like to see a resumption of VIP junket play in casinos so some of that money could start flowing back to public funds.
But the customer care team at Solaire Resort and Casino, one of the large-scale casino complexes at Entertainment City in the capital Manila (pictured), told GGRAsia on Wednesday in response to our enquiry, and referring to the Presidential Palace: “We strictly adhere to the enhanced community quarantine issued by Malacañang in the effort to suppress the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The shops and the casino gaming areas at Solaire will be temporarily closed for operations until further notice.”
The customer care team at nearby Okada Manila likewise told us on Wednesday: “In support of the Philippine government’s directive to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus and Pagcor’s memorandum for all licensed casinos and gaming sites in the national capital region, Okada Manila’s gaming floor operations were suspended on March 15, and will remain so until further notice.”
The general quarantine of Luzon island that began in mid-March was originally set to end April 12. But a spokesperson of the country’s Covid-19 task force, Karlo Nograles, said on Tuesday that the nation’s leader, President Rodrigo Duterte, had approved a recommendation to extend the quarantine of Luzon island to April 30 in order to contain the spread of the virus and its associated Covid-19 disease.
The extended period of the lockdown is to give the Philippines government time to respond to the public health crisis, Mr Nograles explained. The lockdown, known locally as the community quarantine measure, has restricted citizen’s movement. They are only allowed to leave their homes for essential shopping trips.
(Updated 9.05am Apr 8)
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