Forty-one casino facilities in Macau are temporarily shutting down their operations for a period of at least fifteen days starting from last week. This move came as the city is trying to fight the outbreak of the Wuhan virus which so far has claimed lives of over one thousand people and infected over 40,000 individuals both within China and many other countries including the USA, Australia, Germany, and France among other.
According to one report by GGRAsia issued several days ago, this move was announced by Lei Wai Nong who is the city’s Economy and Finance Secretary before it was fully confirmed via dispatches from Ho Iat Seng who is the Chief Executive of the office. This move applies to all nightclubs, local cinemas, arcades as well as every other place of entertainment with the exception of restaurants and hotels.
Wuhan Virus Outbreak
First recorded in Wuhan back in the early days of December of last year, the Wuhan virus is a highly-infectious strain of coronaviruses which causes severe symptoms that resemble symptoms of pneumonia including severe coughs and high fevers. According to the latest reports by the CDC, the virus has been contracted by over 40,000 individuals in China and many other distant locations such as the United Kingdom, the USA, and many European countries.
It also led to single fatalities in Hong Kong and the Philippines. The city’s Economy and Finance Secretary Lei also detailed that every one of the city’s fully licensed casino companies including the local Wynn Macau Limited and Sands China Limited have already pledged to continue paying salaries to their employee over the course of the fifteen-day closure. In other words, the companies did not ask their workers to take the other route and take unpaid leave.
When it comes to the latest move regarding entertainment facilities shutting down their operations temporarily, it was stated that this only applies to the city’s gaming facilities within its tourism complex. In other words, beverage and food venues alongside hotel facilities will continue with their usual business if they have visitors and if they employ appropriate risk control measures to prevent more people from getting infected.
Macau Officials Will Not Close Border Checkpoints
Reported by GGRAsia as well, the decision to temporarily close Macau casinos came shortly after health officials revealed that Macau had recorded another case of infection several days ago. The patient is a fifty-nine-year-old bus driver who works for SJM Holdings Limited. Regarding this case, the Macau Health Bureau sought to assuage the Wuhan virus fears by revealing that the male patient probably got infected while visiting Guangdong Province.
At the same time, Ho had declared that the city’s health administration did not plan to close Macau’s border checkpoints as this decision would negatively affect the many individuals who live in other parts of China but regularly travel to the city for work. He also added that border checkpoints should remain open to keep Macau supplied with foods. However, several days later, Ho declared that ferry services between Hong Kong and Macau will be suspended which leaves the Hong Kong Zhuhai Macau Bridge as they only way to travel directly between the two areas.
All in all, the fifteen-day closure of Macau casinos will probably lead to a massive 50% drop in Macau’s aggregated gross gaming revenues for the first months of 2020. According to Sanford C Bernstein Limited, the eventual gross gaming revenue figure for Macau casinos could potentially decline by 70% to hit just around $2.8 billion in the case of casinos remaining closed in the months to come.