Macau – It has been announced today that casino establishments in Macau, the autonomous region on the south coast of China, are closed for a period of 15 days following the spread of Coronavirus from Wuhan.
The news was released immediately by the Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong following an emergency meeting between casino executives in the gambling capital of Asia:
“This is only a closure on the gaming venues of the tourism complex. Hotels and food and beverage venues can still continue, considering there are still visitors there. And we have sufficient risk control measures.”
Despite over 40 casino establishments shutting for over two weeks, hotels and restaurants in Macau will remain open, as there are sufficient safeguards in place at the hospitality facilities within the resorts.
The Coronavirus has been causing major concerns for Macau’s gaming industry in the past two weeks and the announcement brings potential repercussions of a fifty percent drop in gross gaming revenue for the period of January to March 2020, according to the firm Brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd, who commented:
“Casinos have already been closing restaurants and other services over the past several days in light of tepid customer visitation… Whatever the details of the temporary shutdown are, the first quarter is obviously going to show awful results.”
In addition to the casino closures, also on the list of venues to shut are cinemas, arcades, nightclubs and other entertainment establishments.
In light of the announcement, casinos in Macau have said that they will not cut salaries or request employees to take unpaid leave to cover the closure.
According to Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, gross gaming revenue in Macau has dropped more than eleven percent in January and visitor numbers for the annual Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations were down almost eighty-percent.
Ho Iat Seng, a Macau politician serving as the 3rd and current Chief Executive of Macau since December 2019 commented:
“Of course this was a difficult decision, but we must do it for the health of Macau’s residents.”