The Philippines to Extend Limited Capacity Protocols for Casinos, Venues

The Philippines will keep casinos in its capital, Manila, operating at limited capacity for the next two weeks as the government assesses the situation and tries to stem the tide of the latest COVID-19 wave. The alert level in the capital has been set at Level 3 and will remain so through January 31, 2022.

Alert Level 3 to Stay in Place Until End of January

The measure has been in place since January 5, and now the Philippines Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has extended these protocols, hoping to tackle the spread of the virus in the population.

The Omicron variant has made its way into the Philippines despite months of isolating the country from the rest of the world and controlling incoming air traffic. As a result, the National Capital Region and 82 other areas have been placed on a higher alert regarding the spread of the Omicron variant.

While Manila and the Philippines coped well with the virus in December, last week’s numbers posted over 39,000 new patients getting infected with COVID-19. The government has limited the operational capacity of numerous venues that are considered as high-risk-of-transmission areas, including indoor dining, hotel gyms, spas, casinos, horse racing tracks, cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and others.

Integrated resorts, however, will be allowed to run at 75% capacity provided that they enforce and observe strict vaccination protocols and COVID-19 safety measures. Businesses that comply with the government’s measures will also have the opportunity to operate at 40% indoor capacity and 60% outdoor capacity.

Any Leeway Tied to Strict COVID Protocols

Casinos suffered a lot throughout the pandemic, both because of the lack of foreigners as well as direct restrictions on their operating capacity. Back in October, casinos were allowed to reopen at a 30% capacity. Casinos still need to ensure that people they admit on their gaming floors are vaccinated.

Meanwhile, Melco Resorts staff at City of Dreams Manila has achieved a near-unanimous vaccination status with 99.6% of its employees inoculated against the coronavirus – and hopefully, its mutations down the road. Casinos have been an important conduit of government safety policies, as many have made official statements that it’s also in the public’s best interest to take a jab. On the flipside, casino resorts have lowered their accommodation prices, beckoning to potential visitors.

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