The largest gambling hub in the world will permit its casinos to resume operation in a few days. Macau authorities revealed that, for the time being, they do not intend to extend the ongoing closure of the city’s casino industry due to the deadly coronavirus and the gambling venues would be able to start operating again from February 20th.
The unprecedented closure of the local casino industry started on February 5th because of the rapid spread of the dangerous coronavirus and was expected to be brought to an end in a fortnight, on February 19th. Since the beginning of the closures, no new cases of the virus were reported in Macau, with a total of 10 confirmed cases of the virus so far.
Earlier today, at a government briefing, Lei Wai Nong, the city’s Secretary for Economy and Finance confirmed that Macau authorities have decided not to extend the current closure of the gambling hub. Mr. Lei also explained that the 39 casinos would not be required to start operation immediately. As revealed by the Secretary, Wynn Macau, Sands China, MGM China, SJM Holdings, Melco Resorts and Galaxy Entertainment would be given 30 days to resume operations.
The 30-day period that would be offered to gambling operators to resume their respective casinos is also aimed to work as a buffer. According to expectations, some casinos do not anticipate much visitor traffic after the end of the forced closures of the venues due to the coronavirus.
Additional Restrictive Measures Would Be Unveiled in Macau Casinos
Despite the resumption of the local casino operations, all employees of the gambling venues and their patrons would be required to wear protective face masks, as part of the measures that had been introduced before the casino closures were announced.
The upcoming casino venues may be reopening but the Government of Macau revealed that some additional measures would be unveiled as part of the efforts to restrict the possible spreading of the coronavirus. The authorities plan to adjust the minimum distance between gaming tables at the casinos so that the safety of both workers and customers is ensured. Mr. Lei also revealed that the number of gaming tables allowed to operate at each of the 39 casinos in Macau would also be reduced in number.
Visitors’ entry would also be subject to strict controls, and the transport links to and from Macau remain limited.
Almost 30 hotels, most of which are adjacent to casino venues, have also closed during the past couple of weeks. At the time when the suspension of gambling operations was announced, it was not immediately clear how long would it take for both gambling and non-gambling services to resume their business.
This has been the second time when casino closures have taken place in Macau following the 2018 closures at the time when the city was hit by a typhoon. The measure has been having a massive impact on the local gambling companies, with MGM Resorts saying the closure of its two casinos in Macau was costing it about $1.5 million on a daily basis.