Macau COVID-19 Conditions Improve, Gaming Consultations Rescheduled

Posted on: October 19, 2021, 02:22h. 

Last updated on: October 18, 2021, 11:59h.

Macau’s latest COVID-19 scare has calmed. And that has prompted local government officials into rescheduling several public consultation sessions to discuss the region’s gaming industry.

Macau casino resort China COVID-19
A passenger inside Macau International Airport makes her way through the terminal. Traffic is expected to increase at the air hub following Macau announcing that the most recent uptick in new COVID-19 cases is under control. (Image: South China Morning Post)

Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) canceled three public consultations that were slated for September 29, October 9, and October 13. The first two were canned because of new local COVID-19 infections being confirmed in late September and early this month. Last week’s planned discussion was called off because of a nearby typhoon.

The Chinese Special Administrative Region last week conducted its third enclave-wide COVID-19 testing blitz of all residents, and no additional cases were detected. With the most recent coronavirus cases now thought to be contained, Macau is calling off its state of immediate prevention status.

As a result, Macau officials say the gaming hearings can be held safely beginning later this week.

Sessions Rescheduled

Next June, Macau’s six commercial gaming operators are set to see their casino licenses terminate. Macau is laboring to improve its regulatory environment in which the multibillion-dollar casino resorts operate before issuing fresh tenders.

Part of designing the next set of operating conditions is gaining input from the public. Gaming is the most critical business sector in Macau, as it employs more people and generates more local tax revenue than any other industry.

While the original public consultations were spaced out over a period of several weeks, the new dates are bunched up. The four session days will run daily beginning this Friday, October 22.

However, to accommodate as many people as possible while limiting the number of attendees in each meeting to promote social distancing, each rescheduled session is being broken into two time slots.

Public Consultations (all times local)

  • Oct. 22: 3:00-5:30p / 7:30-10:00p
  • Oct. 23: 10a-12:30p / 3-5:30p
  • Oct. 24: 10a-12:30p / 3-5:30p
  • Oct. 25: 10a-12:30p / 3-5:30p

Quarantine Lifted

Macau casinos shared in the rejoicing of COVID-19 being contained for the time being, and are set to benefit by way of less-restrictive border entry procedures.

Neighboring Zhuhai says that effective tomorrow, October 19, travelers coming to the city from Macau will no longer be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine. Currently, visitors returning from Macau to Zhuhai must present a negative coronavirus test completed within the past 48 hours, and then undergo 14 days of mandatory medical observation.

The quarantine removal will help return visitors to the casino hub. The restrictions essentially canceled the annual Golden Week holiday in Macau, which is typically one of the busiest times of the year for the casinos.

Less than 8,200 people visited Macau during the October 1-7 celebration. In 2019, 980,000 people were estimated to have traveled to the gaming region during the week-long holiday.

With COVID-19 under control for now, Macau is allowing certain entertainment that was banned under the immediate prevention alarm to resume. That includes casino spas and gyms, salons, indoor swimming pools, and lounges and bars.

However, Macau’s zero COVID-19 policy approach will continue to threaten the immediate shutdown of such business operations should new cases arise.