Macau Could End Hong Kong Quarantine Requirement Effective July 3

Posted on: June 22, 2021, 10:42h. 

Last updated on: June 22, 2021, 12:12h.

Macau could end its mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement on visitors coming from Hong Kong as early as July 3.

Macau Hong Kong entry COVID-19
Border gates are seen on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Macau could ease its quarantine constraint on people coming from Hong Kong in the coming weeks. (Image: Macau News)

Government officials from Macau and Hong Kong — China’s two Special Administrative Regions (SARs) — met this week to discuss lessening entry protocols between the two areas. The leaders, in consultation with local health officials, agreed to ease entrance stipulations in the coming weeks, so long as new cases of COVID-19 do not arise.

Macau Health Bureau Director Alvis Lo Iek Long explained the new protocols. Once Hong Kong achieves 28 consecutive days without confirming a new local coronavirus case, Macau will lift the two-week quarantine requirement on people arriving from the neighboring SAR. 

Hong Kong hasn’t reported a new COVID-19 case since June 5. That means the medical observation necessity could be lifted on July 3. 

Freeing the coming and going between Hong Kong and Macau would be much-welcomed news to the latter SAR’s casino resorts. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the world’s richest gaming market remains down 66 percent in the first five months of 2021 compared with the same period in 2019. 

Hong Kong Major Market

Macau is currently only allowing people to enter into the SAR arriving from mainland China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan. 

For those coming from Hong Kong, a negative COVID-19 test performed within the past 24 hours is required for entry. From the border gate, Hong Kongers must go to a designated hotel for two weeks of medical observation. 

Prior to the pandemic, Hong Kong was responsible for generating around 10-15 percent of Macau’s annual gross gaming revenue (GGR). In 2019, Hong Kong was responsible for more than 7.3 million entries into Macau.

But even if Macau lifts the quarantine requirement, gaming analysts say a quick influx of visitors from Hong Kong shouldn’t be expected. A note this week from Credit Suisse points to the fact that people trying to access Macau from Hong Kong once the quarantine is lifted will initially be required to be vaccinated. As of June 20, only 18.8 percent of Hong Kongers are fully inoculated. 

Credit Suisse also says family trips are less likely, as children largely remain unvaccinated. Another concern is if just a single new COVID-19 case arises, the quarantine process will be reinstated. That will reduce planned trips to Macau from Hong Kong. 

June Revenue Forecasts

Bernstein this week further lowered its June GGR expectations. The research firm said it’s now expecting that casino revenue will be down 40 percent from May and 70 percent from June 2019. 

The new wave of COVID-19 cases in Guangdong (the largest feeder market) has subsided, as the province’s daily local cases have dropped to single-digits. But new Delta (Indian) variant cases were detected that led to continuous lock downs,” the Bernstein note explained of its reasoning. 

The research added that it expects Macau “to experience headwinds through 2021,” but GGR improvement should begin in the latter part of the year.