Macao reopened beauty salons, fitness centres, bars and some other entertainment facilities along with public services starting 2 August, after nine straight days of zero COVID-19 cases. By Manas Sen Gupta
On 1 August, the Macao government said in a statement, “There have been no community infection cases in Macao for nine consecutive days… and the risk of the spread of the coronavirus has been greatly reduced.”
People in the Special Administrative Region will also be allowed to dine-in at restaurants.
Macao reopening but with caution
Casinos suffered heavy losses
Macao, the world’s biggest gambling hub before the pandemic, suffered heavy losses due to the stringent shutdown of the city following a sudden rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in mid-June 2022.
Casinos began reopening on 23 July, after remaining shut for 12 days as part of a strict Macao government policy, which is in line with China’s zero-COVID mandate.
According to Reuters, the government said that July monthly casino revenues were the lowest on record. Revenues dropped 95 percent year on year to 0.4 billion patacas (USD 49.5 million).
The report also says that the licenses of Melco Resorts, MGM China, Galaxy Entertainment, Sands China, SJM Holdings and Wynn Macau — the six current casino license holders in Macao — will expire by the end of 2022.
A year before the outbreak of COVID-19 around the world in 2020, the casinos earned USD 36 billion in revenue.
Restrictions not completely removed
Since mid-June, Macao has reported around 1,800 infections. But despite the reopening, several restrictions will remain in place.
Over 90 percent of the residents are fully vaccinated but are required to wear masks whenever they go out. They will also have to produce a negative coronavirus test report taken within three days to be able to enter most of the open venues.
Moreover, Macao is open only to residents from Hong Kong SAR, Taiwan and mainland China. Except for those coming from low-risk areas in mainland China, visitors are required to quarantine for 10 days on arrival.
Consequently, analysts believe, there might be no business for a few more weeks.