Earlier this month, the Chinese city of Macau reported that 41 casinos were asked to shut operations for half a month as they rushed to stop the coronavirus outbreak afflicting China and other regions. Undoubtedly, the epidemic has shaken the world that first broke out in Wuhan leaving thousands of people in the country to suffer.
Following an unprecedented closure for 15 days that started on 5 February and was due to end on 19 Feb, the Chief Executive of Macau, Ho Lat Seng announced today that from 12am, 20 February 2020 onwards, all casinos in Macau will be allowed to resume running their business.
The news spread like a forest fire. Lei Wai Nong, Secretary for Economy and Finance assured that the closure would not be extended beyond 15 days, although operators have an option to apply for a 30-day extension to go back to full business. Casino operators need to adhere to the guidelines set by the Health Bureau that includes adjusting the management, improving safety factors, measuring body temperatures and wearing masks.
Macau is the biggest gambling hub and what began on 5 Feb has been its longest shutdown ever. MGM reported losing $1.5 million a day in Macau while Wynn Resorts Ltd. stated losing $2.5 million per day. However, the business is likely to be limited given that the government has imposed strict control on visitors’ entry and curtailed transport links that include the suspension of ferry services from Hong Kong as an ongoing measure to prevent Coronavirus from spreading.
Macau’s government has told casino operators Sands China, Wynn Macau, SJM Holdings, MGM China, Galaxy Entertainment and Melco Resorts to resume their service in 30 days. It’s still not clear how quickly those operations and other non-gaming units would recommence. Apart from the 10 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, Macau has not reported any new case since 4 Feb.
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