Macau Casinos to Operate with Minimum Staff as Cases Boom

As the number of new COVID-19 cases continued to grow in Macau, the Special Administrative Region (SAR)’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) asked casino operators to cut the number of their gaming floor personnel and enhance testing and protection procedures.

Implement Prevention Guidelines

The DICJ turned to casino operators in a statement Sunday, asking them to take into account the growing number of new cases which reached 299 according to the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center by the time of the statement, as compared to 170 on Friday.

“Gaming companies must strictly implement all epidemic prevention guidelines issued by the Health Bureau, and take various epidemic prevention measures, including [for those] entering the venue to check the health code, checking body temperature, strengthening cleaning and disinfection in the casino and reducing the number of personnel in the casino,” the DICJ stated, and also reminded operators that everyone at their venues should wear masks and maintain social distancing.

The spike in new cases began in Mid-June and authorities in the SAR responded by ordering mass testing for everyone determined to uphold the mainland’s “zero COVID” policy while keeping banks, government services, schools, and numerous other businesses closed.

Casinos Open but Impact Is Imminent

Casinos remained open but there was no one to play and analysts expect that the industry’s gross gaming revenue will most likely plummet in the month. Markets also reacted nervously as investors dumped casino stock causing shares of Macau concessionaires to fall.

All casino employees will be subjected to a mandatory rapid antigen test before every shift and a nucleic acid test every 48 hours as Macau residents are facing another round of mandatory nucleic acid testing starting Monday – the third in the space of a week.

“The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau will continue to strengthen epidemic prevention inspections in casinos and urges gaming companies to take various epidemic prevention measures through regular and special inspections to ensure the health and safety of guests and staff in the casinos,” the DICJ concluded its statement.

In addition to the mass testing, the Health Bureau announced restrictions under which people were advised to stay at home and nine zones across the city were placed under full lockdown on Sunday.

Currently, the red-coded areas are 13 while 51 have a yellow code but according to the latest information from the head of Macau’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Leong Lek Hou, the number of confirmed cases jumped by 100 in a single day, with almost half of them “detected during isolation,” suggesting “the number of cases is still on the rise.”

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