Authorities met with casino, lottery and sports betting operators and warned them to have Covid-19 contingency plans after local cases were detected at the weekend.
Macau.- Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) has held a meeting with Macau’s casino, lottery and sports wagering concessionaires. It reminded them to have emergency plans in place in case of an increase in Covid-19 cases in the city.
Authorities asked the gaming operators to have “reaction groups” set up ready to manage any Covid-19 crisis. The DICJ also said casino operators must have evacuation plans for guests in case of a new outbreak.
Seven new Covid-19 cases have been detected in recent days. That’s led the DICJ to cancel the first session of its public consultation on changes to gaming laws.
Macau has entered into “immediate pandemic prevention” mode. Nearly 2,000 hotel rooms at the Londoner Macao complex, operated by Sands China Ltd, have been allocated to use as part of the city’s quarantine programme.
Macau October Golden Week at risk
Analysts at JP Morgan Securities believe expectations for the national holiday could be deeply affected by new countermeasures.
They said: “While there’s still a possibility that travel restrictions could be lifted before/during Golden Week, we think it’s a foregone conclusion that it will be an ungolden holiday, as many players are likely to cancel the trips to avoid risks of being quarantined upon their return to mainland.”
Current countermeasures are similar to those the government imposed in August after the city reported local Covid-19 cases. At the time, Macau carried out mass testing for Covid-19, in which 716,251 people were tested, all of them returning negative results.
Authorities have suspended the “Stay, Dine and See Macao” initiative that let Macau residents book government-subsidised staycations at hotels and guest houses.
A week ago, Andy Wu, president of the Travel Industry Council of Macau, had predicted the city could receive 40,000 daily visitors during the holiday period. Macao Government Tourism Office director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes had predicted 35,000 visitors a day.