Macau’s Casinos Mandate Vaccination, Authorities Ready to Ease Up Restrictions

The coronavirus continues to hold the world of entertainment in its chokehold, with Macau casinos trying as best as they can to deal with surging numbers or, at least, ensure that they do not become areas of transmission of the disease. To this end, Macau’s casinos have made it mandatory for all staff members to either get a jab against COVID-19 or subject themselves to weekly testing, similar to measures already implemented by companies in the West.

The move seems to be coordinated between the six concessionaires currently holding the keys to Macau’s gambling market, Inside Asian Gaming reported. The website has been able to see an internal memo distributed between employees that said that members who are unvaccinated and do not have a Negative Nucleic Acid Test Result will not be allowed at work.

People who have received a single dose of the vaccine would have to get a second jab within 30 days while they continue to provide test results weekly. The testing measure would only be lifted for those employees who have received both jabs, it seems. This comes as the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center is trying to balance between safe and unsafe zones across the territory with a new set of rules made available just today.  

While Casino Measures Tighten, Overall Ease of Covid Restrictions Arrives

In this context, the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center, Macau’s COVID-19 response team, has been thinking of lifting and unlocking some parts of the territory. Red and yellow zones may see an easing of restrictions before long.

Yellow and red zones differ, as well. In yellow zones, people are advised to monitor themselves for 14 days and not leave Macau, as well as take a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of being told they are in a yellow zone. The red zones require people to self-isolate on top of closer observation.

However, the task force is more prepared to operate in a tiered approach where blanket bans and restrictions are not introduced. The task force is also beginning to talk about lifting these measures and unlocking parts of the city that were put in quarantine as a result of prior spikes in cases.

Similar to the precautions taken by casinos mandating vaccination, authorities are ready to take a stricter approach in certain cases. Current red and yellow zones may be released from their status of COVID-19 risk areas over the weekend.  

Macau still lags behind the rest of the world, with the population in the territory only 59% vaccinated. The Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center is prepared to lift most restrictions once that rate reaches 80%. Many entertainment venues, outside of casinos, are still closed, which is bad for business.

However, the territory must be given credit for handling the COVID-19 pandemic exceptionally well, with zero fatalities due to the disease since the pandemic first started in January 2020. Much of this was due to immediate and swift action by authorities and restricted cross-border travel.

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