Macau will look to reopen Chinese border

by Mia Chapman Last Updated
Macau tourist numbers down

The Liaison Office of the Macau SAR has confirmed it will proactively express to the Beijing government the wishes of the Macau public to resume border operations between Macau and Guangdong Province.

Asgam reports that despite rumours last month that mandatory quarantine measures between the two jurisdictions may have been lifted by early June, the measures still remain in place as gaming operators and local businesses await further news.

According to local Chinese media, the head of the Coordination Department of the Macau Liaison Office, Fu Tie Sheng, spoke at a meeting with a local association last Saturday, revealing the Office has been among those actively pushing to reopen the borders.

However, Fu said Guangdong Province needs to further adjust its policies due to added COVID-19 preventative work and urged the Macau public to be “confident and patient”.

Normal operations between Macau and Guangdong have been suspended for over two months now after Guangdong imposed a 14-day mandatory quarantine on certain arrivals from Macau on March 27.

Sheraton Macau used for citizen quarantine

Sheraton Grand Macau is once again being utilised as a medical observation hotel.

The Macau SAR government announced last Sunday that the Pousada Marina Infante Hotel, which has been used as a quarantine hotel since the outbreak of COVID-19 and was the only one of 12 hotels still in use, had reached capacity with the Sheraton Grand Macau now being utilised once again.

As before, a special area comprising 2,000 of Sheraton Grand Macau’s 4,000 rooms has been isolated for quarantine purposes with Macau’s health authority sending personnel to guide preparatory works and close off all passages connecting with shopping malls, restaurants and other hotels in Sands China’s Cotai precinct.

Sheraton Grand Macau was first named as Macau’s 12th quarantine venue on March 27, providing up to 2,000 rooms for the government to use to house people undergoing mandatory 14-day quarantine.

However, only 500 rooms were used the first time around.

Those entering quarantine are mainly Macau citizens returning home from overseas.

Macau casino revenue plummets

Macau casinos reported gaming revenue falling nearly 90 per cent in February after local authorities ordered a two-week shutdown of operations due to the coronavirus.

Calvin Ayre reported the figures released in March by Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau reported that local casinos had generated revenue of just US$386.6 million in February, a drop of 87.8 per cent from the same month last year, the largest monthly decline on record.

For the first two months of 2020, gaming revenue is down by nearly half.

The special administration of China ordered its casinos to shut their doors for 15 days starting February 4 as the Covid-19 outbreak continued spreading out of its ground zero in Hubei province.

China restricted the number of individual scheme permits and tour groups to Macau, while Macau’s government mulled shutting its borders entirely to limit its potential exposure to Covid-19.

Following the conclusion of that shutdown, Macau casinos began phased re-openings and the DICJ said Friday that only two casinos – Casino Taipa at the Regency Art Hotel and the Casino Macau Jockey Club in the Macau Roosevelt Hotel – had yet to resume operations.

Operators were allowed to open only if they agreed to follow certain restrictions aimed at limiting further spread of the virus, including maintaining empty seats between players at gaming tables and electronic gaming machines, not allowing ‘standing’ bets and requiring all guests and staff to wear face masks until March 22.

Macau’s January revenue fell 11.3 per cent year-on-year after China’s travel restrictions began taking effect in the final 10 days of the month.

The disruption over the past two months robbed casinos of their annual windfall from the Lunar New Year holiday.

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