Macau has just imposed full lockdown with only essential services allowed to do business to a limited extent. This means that all commercial and industrial activities are being shut down, including casinos.
Closed Casinos and Other Commercial and Industrial Operations
The lockdown introduced by the SAR government and announced at a press conference on July 9 by André Cheong Weng Chon, Secretary for Administration and Justice will be for a duration of one week starting at midnight on July 11 and finishing at midnight on July 18. All businesses that do not count as essential services will be closed with Cheong confirming that this indeed also includes casinos.
At the press conference, Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong was very unclear about how employers should proceed regarding employees’ salaries for the week of lockdown. Lei stated the following: “Employers are not required to pay staff salaries, but it is better to come up with a solution which is the best for both employers and employees.” As his words left many unanswered questions, some people speculated that employers should ask their staff to take some of their annual paid leave during the lockdown.
Macau’s residents are being ordered to only leave their homes for urgent tasks such as shopping for essential goods, jobs defined as essential work or other urgent issues. Additionally, all adults are required to wear masks of standard KN95 or higher. There will be police patrols enforcing the lockdown rules, checking people and vehicles and sending people home in case they have gone out without a legitimate urgent reason. If anyone disobeys, officers are allowed to enforce the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act, which can lead to a two-year prison sentence or a fine of MOP 12,000 ($1,500) to MOP 1.2 million ($150,000).
Utilities, Bus Services, and Restaurant/Diners Remain Open
Bus services will continue operation but will be available only to those that have jobs within essential services, the police, and the media. All other people must use other means of transportation such as their own vehicles, taxis, or walking. Kelvin Lam Hin San, Director of the Macau Transport Bureau (DSAT), also informed that the bus rides in the city will be limited to 3,000 each day of the lockdown.
Utilities will remain operational, of course, supplying water, electricity, natural gas, other fuel, telecommunications, and garbage collection services. Supermarkets, markets, food and beverage venues, restaurants, pharmacies, and providers of health care will remain open. However, restaurants and such will be only allowed to offer takeaway services. In addition, all entities that remain open have to impose a limit to the number of people they serve, ensure social distancing and guarantee that all clients scan the QR code of the establishment.
After the announcement of the new lockdown, Macau residents have started panic buying with considerable waiting times at supermarkets, which Macau citizens can check online.