Manila Casinos Close Again, Government Blames COVID-19 Protocols Violations

Posted on: January 1, 2022, 11:14h. 

Last updated on: January 1, 2022, 12:25h.

Manila casinos are once again closed after the Philippines government ordered the four integrated resorts to shutter their operations because of COVID-19.

Manila casinos Philippines COVID-19
A desolate casino floor at City of Dreams Manila is seen in this file photograph. Manila casinos are once again dark following the Philippines government ordering the suspension of their operations amid another COVID-19 spike. (Image: Inside Asian Gaming)

It was only two weeks ago that government officials in the Manila capital said City of Dreams, Okada, Solaire, and Resorts World would be able to operate at up to 50 percent of their indoor fire code capacity. The decree at the time included several restrictions, such as social distancing and indoor face masks.

The public, however, was unable to adhere to the emergency health standards, or so claim government bureaucrats. That resulted in the Philippines again mandating that the four commercial casino properties temporarily suspend business.

COVID-19, like in many other areas of the world, is spreading rapidly in the Philippines because of the omicron variant.

Public Shortcoming

The Philippines Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) revised Manila’s alert level from Level 2 to Level 3 following the ringing in of 2022.

Level 3 is levied on areas where new coronavirus case counts are high and/or increasing, and related hospitalizations and intensive care admissions are escalating. Level 3 prohibits an array of activities, including in-person education, sports, concerts, and indoor residential gatherings involving people not living in the same household.

Casinos, horse racing, cockfighting, and lottery and betting shops are also temporarily banned, the IATF-EID explains. The order is being linked to the holidays and the vast movement and activity of the general public.

We saw an exponential rise during the past days because of the holiday activities where there were increased movement and compliance with minimum public health standards may have been disregarded,” stated Cabinet Secretary and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte spokesperson Karlo Nograles.

COVID-19 cases climbed to nearly 3,000 new identifications yesterday alone. Case counts have more than doubled from just a couple of weeks ago, when the Philippines believed it had finally contained a severe spike experienced during the June through October rainy season.

Violators Face Penalties

The Filipino government is taking action against those who are found to be disregarding state orders. A Filipino woman who recently visited the United States and then didn’t quarantine upon her return has been charged with violating a public health emergency decree.

Philippines Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano told reporters yesterday that the charge should serve as a wakeup call to Filipinos who are not adhering to the government’s orders.

“Violators shall be criminally charged immediately,” Ano warned.

The Philippines has confirmed 2.84 million COVID-19 cases since the onset of the global health crisis. The coronavirus has been cited for more than 51,500 Filipino deaths, the second-most in Southeast Asia, behind only Indonesia.

State officials expect cases to continue climbing in the immediate future because of omicron. “In the coming days, we might see an increase in active cases,” Nograles concluded.