The 39 active casinos in Macau will reportedly be allowed to re-open from midnight on Thursday following the conclusion of a 15-day shuttering that was instituted to help stop the spread of the highly-infectious coronavirus outbreak that is currently ravaging neighboring China.
According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the city’s Economy and Finance Secretary, Lei Wai Nong (pictured), used an official press conference earlier today to announce that the temporary closure will not be extended although casinos may apply for a 30-day delay should they need more time to prepare.
According to the source, casinos will also be allowed to reduce the size of their operations during this 30-day period although they may face sanctions if they are not fully up and running by March 20.
Lei reportedly explained that all of the re-opening casinos are to be required to abide by a set of new conditions designed to help prevent the coronavirus strain from spreading further. These purportedly include a rule that all dealers must wear face masks alongside a directive that venues increase the distance between tables and conduct temperature checks on guests and staff.
The government of Macau is to moreover attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus strain, which is officially known as 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), by placing all casino workers entering the enclave from mainland China into quarantine for 14 days. However, Lei purportedly detailed that resident and tourists will not be subject to this condition although his department may look to alter such requirements should the outbreak worsen.
Lei reportedly pronounced that he now expects ‘extremely few’ tourists to arrive in Macau from China while GGRAsia cited a Monday note from brokerage Sanford C Bernstein and Company as predicting that ‘customer inflow will likely be very limited in the near term’. The communication written by analysts Kelsey Zhu, Eunice Lee and Vitaly Umansky purportedly furthermore proclaimed that some casinos in the former Portuguese enclave ‘had asked the government to continue with the shutdown due to anticipated very low business’ although there are others that were said to be ‘more eager to open’.
Reportedly read the communique from Sanford C Bernstein and Company…
“Even with the casinos re-opening, there will still be a dearth of customers. Until the suspensions are lifted, most mainland Chinese customers will not be able to enter Macau. There is no clarity at this time from China when such travel may begin to be permitted.”