Macau keeps casinos open as bars, cinemas shut to tame virus

23/6/2022 4:35:00 PM

Macau keeps casinos open as bars, cinemas shut to tame virus - Bloomberg

Macau keeps casinos open as bars, cinemas shut to tame virus - Bloomberg

(June 23): Macau will keep its casinos open, while shutting other entertainment venues, as the world’s largest gambling hub tries to contain its worst ever Covid-19 outbreak. Bars, nightclubs, cinemas, gyms and hair salons will close from 5 p.m. local time on Thursday, and restaurants will suspend dining-in services, according to a government mandate, which didn’t specify how long the curbs will last. Macau has already shut schools and public venues, and is conducting mass testing to weed out hidden chains

(June 23): Macau will keep its casinos open, while shutting other entertainment venues, as the world’s largest gambling hub tries to contain its worst ever Covid-19 outbreak.Bars, nightclubs, cinemas, gyms and hair salons will close from 5 p.m. local time on Thursday, and restaurants will suspend dining-in services, according to a government mandate, which didn’t specify how long the curbs will last. Macau has already shut schools and public venues, and is conducting mass testing to weed out hidden chains of community transmission as the number of infections in this outbreak climbed to 110 from 71 a day earlier.

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A (June 23): Macau will keep its casinos open, while shutting other entertainment venues, as the world’s largest gambling hub tries to contain its worst ever Covid-19 outbreak.FILE PHOTO: People walk past Casino Lisboa in Macau, China, December 21, 2019.for the latest news you need to know..

Bars, nightclubs, cinemas, gyms and hair salons will close from 5 p.m. Case numbers are small by global comparison, with only 110 announced since the most recent outbreak began, but authorities have moved quickly to stamp out transmission as they follow mainland China's strict zero-Covid policy. local time on Thursday, and restaurants will suspend dining-in services, according to a government mandate, which didn’t specify how long the curbs will last. It will start selling tickets again on June 23, it said. Macau has already shut schools and public venues, and is conducting mass testing to weed out hidden chains of community transmission as the number of infections in this outbreak climbed to 110 from 71 a day earlier. After 48 hours of mass testing that ended Tuesday, the city has ordered all residents to undergo another round starting Thursday. The outbreak is being driven by the omicron sub-variant BA.

5, said health officials. All restaurants have been forced to suspend dine-in services and the school year has been ended early after classes were halted at the beginning of the week. The resort initially announced a June 15 reopening two weeks ago, but was forced to postpone it due to a fresh wave of Covid-19 cases in the city. Casinos are not affected by the restrictions for now and the city hasn’t shut the venues since an unprecedented 15-day closure in February 2020. Authorities will only close individual casinos if they find a case in gaming spaces, Macau’s Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said at a briefing Thursday, citing an agreement reached with operators following the 2020 shutdown. But casinos, which in normal times account for about 80 percent of government revenue, are unaffected by the restrictions. Back then, the city lacked effective testing measures, and the situation is different now, Ho said. ― Reuters Advertisement. Macau has so far identified four casino workers who are infected and one close contact, but none of the cases entered gaming areas during the relevant period, according to authorities. But Ho said Thursday that at that time the government struck an agreement with the sector that in future only casinos reporting cases would be shut down.

A suspension “would affect a lot of our residents working at casinos,” Ho said. “As a Macau resident, we want to take care of the livelihood of our Macau employees. On Tuesday local media reported that a hotel and casino complex was locked down with 700 people inside after one infection was discovered there.” Adding Pressure Macau’s tighter social-distancing restrictions are likely to deal another blow to the city, which has been struggling with a dearth of tourists and slumping revenue as mainland China’s Covid Zero policies discourage travel to the enclave. Beyond the virus, the casino industry, which contributes to 80% of the government income, is facing other challenges including a new law that significantly increases government control over operations and Beijing’s crackdown on high-rolling gamblers to curb capital outflow. Macau's casinos usually account for more than half of the city's gross domestic product, with nearly a fifth of the working population employed by the industry. Macau’s gross gaming revenue plunged more than 60% year-on-year in both April and May, while visitation has remained at less than 20% of the pre-Covid levels in 2019 since the beginning of the year.

Casinos are already burning through millions of dollars of cash each day. And the pandemic is not the only challenge the sector is facing. Most only have enough liquidity to survive between nine months and two years, JPMorgan Chase & Co analysts including DS Kim wrote in a note on Sunday. A Bloomberg Intelligence gauge of Macau casino stocks was 0. On Tuesday Macau's rubber stamp legislature passed a new gambling law which will give the Chinese government more oversight over the industry, with the sector instructed that it must not undermine China's national security.4% higher, though it’s still down about 26% this year. For now, Macau remains quarantine-free for travelers from low-risk areas in mainland China, the largest source of its tourism, while a 10-day quarantine is required for those who enter from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Portugal and some high-risk mainland regions. - AFP.

It is otherwise shut to the rest of the world. Macau can’t live with Covid because it shares its border with mainland China, according to Ho. The neighboring mainland city of Zhuhai has further tightened its border restrictions for visitors from Macau, requiring seven days of quarantine at designated facilities and another seven days of self-health monitoring. Before the outbreak, arrivals didn’t have to undergo any isolation. Zhuhai has also locked down some areas after finding a small number of imported infections from Macau.

Macau will determine whether it will impose broad movement restrictions on residents after it completes its second round of testing, with authorities previously announcing they expect to release those results by Saturday morning. The city will be divided into different zones if a lockdown is implemented. People living in buildings where two positive cases or more are found will be confined to their apartments for at least five days or until everyone tests negative, said officials. They’ll still be allowed to leave their buildings briefly to get tested, fetch daily supplies and access urgent medical care. Overall, the Covid situation remains controllable and the city has sufficient daily supplies, Ho said.

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