Macau’s authorities announce that this Chinese Administrative Region will be ”gradually opening up” for visitors from abroad and from mainland China. The COVID outbreak in the community can no longer be controlled and mainland Chinese policies are being revised to opt for a more flexible strategy.

Policy shift:

On Tuesday, Macau’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Elsie Ao Ieong, stated: “At this moment, the community is going to face the outbreak, and we will have an increase in the number of cases in the city. We have to prepare ourselves for these positive cases to appear in the community.”

The statement expressed a change in the government’s previous tone on zero-COVID and marked the turning point in the region’s attempt to return to normal life. The official’s statement also marks the milestone in the economy to re-establish its pre-pandemic prospects. The Secretary said: “It will be impossible for us to continue to shut ourselves in Macau, therefore we need to have a gradual opening up.”

Cautious changes:

The change in the Macau’s restrictive COVID policy is cautiously announced after the region has been effectively kept isolated for almost three years with this official noting that “future measures will not allow a large-scale outbreak” and hoping ”that the citizens can understand the characteristics of this pandemic.”

Secretary Ieong confirmed the statements on a gradual improvement of the COVID situation as data showed that Omicron virulence was decreasing. Ieong also announced that the respective guidelines to combat the virus would be issued.

“Later, we will launch information with explanations and illustrations of what types of symptoms that the infected individuals could have. We will teach the infected individuals how to handle the coronavirus and what the correct medication is,” informed the official.

Pandemic decreasing revenue:

Since the end of November, Macau has undergone a severe wave of coronavirus cases. However, the latest wave has been featured by a lack of the established mass testing routine and no mass closure of casinos, which recorded a significant decrease in revenues in previous quarters. For example, Macau’s gaming revenue kept decreasing over the entire year to get to the lowest levels in November.

The region’s gross gaming revenue was $ 481.6 million in November 2022, which was 50.9% lower than the previous year and even 86.9% lower than the pre-pandemic level in November 2019, when Macau’s gambling industry generated $2.85 billion in revenue.

Gradual opening-up:

As gambling industry generates significant amenities to the community, the overall shift in the approach of the mainland Chinese authorities seems promising for group travel arrangements to Macau to commence. The gradual opening up would encourage operators to invite foreign visitors to come back to the region and walk the same old Cotai Strip again.