Melco’s Cyprus Properties to Reopen No Sooner than July 14

Melco Resorts and Entertainment’s Cyprus Casinos properties are expected to relaunch their operations in the country no sooner than July 14. The Republic of Cyprus’ government has announced its intentions to gradually start relaxing the measures introduced to hinder the spread of COVID-19. The first phase of the local economy’s reopening is to commence today.

The Republic’s President Nicos Anastasiades revealed during a speech the exact timetable of the economy’s reopening will be closely dependent on the number of new cases in the weeks to follow. The easing of the measures will start on May 4, with some of the local businesses receiving permission to relaunch their operations.

As of today, Cyprus’ residents are allowed to walk on the streets, albeit on a limited basis. The second phase of easing the emergency measures will commence on May 21 provided the Republic does not witness a relapse in COVID-19. The restrictions on the residents’ street movements will also be lifted during this phase.

At this stage, further operational independence will be granted to retail shops and construction companies. The next reopening phase is expected to occur on June 9, when shopping malls, along with the local hotels and airports, will be able to commence operating again. Stringent social distancing rules in such venues will remain in place, the government stressed in its official statement.

The Eased Measures Not Applicable to Cyprus Casinos

However, these eased measures do not apply to gambling venues and movie theaters, which will remain under lockdown. Furthermore, there is a good chance such businesses will be able to relaunch their operations no sooner than the middle of July 2020.

This is bad news for Melco Resorts and Entertainment, whose gambling operations in Cyprus were suspended in mid-March as part of the local government’s emergency measures. The company is already beginning to experience some financial struggles.

Melco also has properties in Macau where gambling operations have already resumed. However, border closures, which are just starting to get lifted, have prevented foreign gamblers from playing at the casinos.

For the time being, the company has no other option but to watch other Cyprus businesses resume their activities. Originally, the suspension was expected to last until April 13 but then the Cyprus authorities extended it further to the end of April.

Melco Resorts and Entertainment operates Cyprus Casinos in partnership with Cyprus Phassouri. There are currently four casinos under the brand, namely Cyprus Casinos Nicosia (C2 Nicosia), C2 Larnaca, C2 Paphos, and C2 Ayia Napa, along with the temporary casino C2 Limassol.

Another gaming venue, City of Dreams Mediterranean, is being constructed in the town of Limassol. The construction is expected to end in 2021 and once that happens, the temporary C2 Limassol will cease its operations.

Now that it has become apparent Melco will have to wait until mid-July to renew its Cyprus activities, further questions may arise over its financial difficulties. Melco sold its shares in Crown Resorts to the Blackstone Group at the end of April and suffered a financial hit in the process.

The company had originally purchased less than 10% of Crown Resorts at a price of $8.50 per share but ended up selling its stake at a huge discount of $5.31 per share. It also witnessed the departure of several important executives while its Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Ho decided to forgo his salary until the end of 2020.

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