Hopes that the casino industry in Macau would be able to benefit from China’s upcoming ‘Golden Week’ national holiday have reportedly been dashed after the enclave recently recorded two positive cases of coronavirus.

According to a report from GGRAsia, the city of almost 683,000 people is home to 41 casinos and had been expecting to record average hotel occupancy rates for this year’s edition of the seven-day national holiday of up to 90%. The source detailed that the annual ‘Golden Week’ period commemorates the establishment of the modern state of China and has regularly involved large numbers of mainland tourists visiting the former Portuguese territory in order to enjoy its plethora of entertainment and gambling facilities.

Alert attitude:

However, the government of Macau reportedly went into ‘immediate pandemic prevention’ mode on Saturday after a pair of local residents tested positive for the ‘delta variant’ of the potentially-lethal ailment. This posture purportedly prompted the city to initiate a four-day mass coronavirus testing program just hours before officials in Hong Kong cancelled their own Come2HK and Return2HK quarantine-free travel schemes.

Stretching sequestration:

Andy Wu Keng Kuong serves as the President for the Macau Travel Industry Council trade group and he reportedly explained that the local hotel and casino industry will moreover be hurt by China’s subsequent decision to reinstate a statute that obliges people returning from Macau to endure a compulsory two-week quarantine. He purportedly stated that this rule is due to run through Wednesday and that his group has received no news as to whether or for how long it may be extended.

Reportedly read a statement from Wu…

“The initial expectation for the October ‘Golden Week’ was that casino resorts on the Cotai Strip might see average occupancy rates of 80% to 90%. But this might now stand at just 50% to 60% as many booking cancellations have happened over the weekend following Macau’s news of the new coronavirus infection cases.”

Testing timeline:

GGRAsia reported that mainland China was the only place to have held a largely quarantine-free travel bubble for Macau with holidaymakers only having been obliged to present a negative coronavirus test conducted within seven days of departure. But, the re-emergence of the highly-contagious ailment means that this grace period has now been shrunk to just 48 hours although excluding those who work in the logistics, medical or funeral industries.

Wu reportedly declared…

“Even if China were to lift the quarantine order on Wednesday, the travel restriction and Macau’s coronavirus development have already greatly discouraged mainland visitors from coming here during the upcoming ‘Golden Week’. Just as with the experience we had in August, travel restrictions enforced by authorities here and on the mainland will likely take quite some time to be phased out gradually.”

Pessimistic prediction:

For its part and investments firm JP Morgan Securities Asia-Pacific Limited reportedly used an official Sunday filing to forecast that the increased coronavirus prevention measures will likely see Macau casinos lose any expected ‘Golden Week’ bumps for their businesses. The Hong Kong-based financial services giant purportedly furthermore asserted that the week-long period is now likely to be ‘an ungolden holiday’ due to the fact that ‘many players are likely to cancel their trips to avoid risks of being quarantined upon their return to the mainland.’

Tarnished tally:

The source finished by reporting that global brokerage and investments behemoth Morgan Stanley agreed with its rival’s assessment yesterday in forecasting that Macau’s casino industry could well rack up third-quarter earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization that are ‘lower than the first quarter and second quarter’. The New York-headquartered company purportedly went on to predict that this reckoning for the three months to the end of September ‘could be even negative’ despite earlier surveys having ‘suggested strong bookings for the October holiday compared to the May one’.