Another working week of partial lockdown is beginning in Macau after the city authorities decided to extend the closure of its casinos and non-essential businesses to try and tackle the worst Covid-19 infection outbreak so far.
Macau Government had announced a week of what was described as “static management” starting earlier this month, after over 1,500 infections were recorded in the previous three weeks although multiple rounds of compulsory mass testing of the local population have been completed so far. The restrictions had to be lifted on July 18th but the number of active coronavirus cases has continued to increase, with the Macau Government unveiling that a total of 1,733 cases had been recorded in the city since the beginning of the outbreak.
On July 17th, the local Government announced that the static management period would be extended until July 23rd. All residents of the former Portuguese colony are required to stay home except to get tested for the Covid-19 infection or go shopping for daily necessities. The ones who break the rules face a penalty of 2 years imprisonment.
Daily case members are still comparatively small by global standards but the authorities in the Special Administrative Region (SAR) have moved quickly to tackle the further spread of the virus as they follow the “zero-Covid-19” policy of mainland China.
Macau Sticks to Mainland China’s “Zero-Covid-19” Policy Although It Is Still Much Dependent on Casino Businesses
In order to prevent the further spread of the virus as much as possible, the Macau Government has decided to leave some public services and businesses such as pharmacies and supermarkets open. However, non-essential businesses in the city, including casinos, which normally account for approximately 80% of the Government revenue, had to shut down temporarily.
Macau usually hosts a casino sector that is bigger than the one in Las Vegas, generating over 50% of the gross domestic product in Macau and employing almost one-fifth of the local population.
The SAR, which is currently the only city in China that allows casino gambling, has seen its extremely important tourism revenues wiped out as a result of the Government’s strict measures aimed at tackling the further spread of the virus, such as tough border controls, lengthy quarantines and targeted lockdowns across the city. On the other hand, the anti-corruption campaign of Chinese President Xi Jinping has also increased scrutiny over so-called high-rollers and corrupt officials who have been willing to travel to Macau as part of various money laundering schemes through gambling.
According to esports, Macau residents may face further economic hurdles after city officials’ statement that local employers are not required to pay workers during the shutdowns associated with the coronavirus.
The ongoing shutdown will affect three casino companies in Las Vegas – Las Vegas Sands, which currently operates 6 casinos in Macau, Wynn Resorts, which runs 3, and MGM Resorts International, which operates 2 casinos in the gambling hub. As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, local authorities have banned dining service services and ordered all residents to avoid leaving their homes unless this is absolutely necessary.