Macau casinos, effective today, June 9, must reinstate numerous health safety protocols to combat the spread of COVID-19.
The Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) said the regulatory requirements are in response to an outbreak of new coronavirus cases in the neighboring province of Guangdong. Casinos must conduct temperature checks on both employees and guests before permitting access to the gaming spaces, and all must wear face masks.
Additionally, everyone in Macau seeking to access public businesses, including casinos, must participate in the Macau Health Code program. Individuals must download the Macau Health Code mobile app from the Health Bureau’s website, and complete the registration and tracking process.
The Health Code app tracks a person’s movements in order to identify their risk of spreading the coronavirus.
Upon arrival at a casino or other business, the app will display a color-coded assessment. Individuals with a red code are to be denied access to the premises, yellow codes are to be turned away unless entry is of urgent necessity. Green codes are granted admission.
The MGTO orders follow new guidelines regarding quarantine requirements for those arriving in the Chinese Special Administrative Region.
People coming to Macau’s border gates must now present a negative COVID-19 test that was completed within the past 48 hours. Prior to the spike in coronavirus cases in Guangdong, travelers could show a negative test that was completed within the past week.
Even with a negative test within the past two days, people arriving from Guangdong who visited the cities of Guangzhou, Foshan, Shenzhen, Maoming, or Zhanjiang in the past 14 days must quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.
Macau has designated four hotel resorts as quarantine observation centers. They are Lisboeta Hotel, Regency Art Hotel, Treasure Hotel, and Grand Coloane. A special rate of MOP400 (US$50) per night is offered to Macau residents and their accompanying relatives. For a two-week quarantine, that comes to $700.
The reimposition of the coronavirus rules, and stricter entries, is expected to damper business at Macau’s struggling casino resorts. Through the first five months of 2021, gross gaming revenue (GGR) remains down 66 percent from the same period in 2019 prior to the pandemic.
The timing couldn’t be worse, as Macau’s casinos topped analyst expectations in May regarding their casino win. Now, June is expected to retract from the positive trend.
Due to new COVID-19 cases emerging in China which may lead to softness in visitation, gaming win could plunge to mid-50 percent range compared to June 2019,” analysts at Bernstein opined.
JPMorgan analysts agree, saying that the new restrictions will “undoubtedly weigh on demand, putting a break in the respectable sequential recovery over the past six months.
“We expect further recovery over the summer holidays with July/August printing MOP11 billion to MOP12 billion GGR (US$1.38 billion to $1.5 billion) after a seasonal lull in June,” the JPMorgan note added.
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