Govt allows casinos to reopen

The government has announced that the six concessionaires can reopen their casinos from Thursday. However, the pace and scale at which they reopen their recently closed facilities will be left for each of them to decide over the coming three days and if they decide that they need another 30 days, they can apply for that to the government.

Although the 15-day shutdown only ends officially on Wednesday, the government has clearly decided that the coronavirus threat has become manageable and the health risk has been reduced to the point that work can start to resume – albeit at reduced levels. Government workers began to resume their duties today, providing “basic services” to members of the public. The integrated resorts, many of which have closed most or all of their facilities, are expected to gradually follow suit.

All companies have been advised, however, to implement cautious safety procedures so as to protect staff from possible infections. The government has issued guidelines in this regard, which include ensuring sufficient space between workers in confined areas, as well as the adoption of an “electronic health declaration” to screen for people who are experiencing symptoms commonly associated with the coronavirus. Casino dealers and other staff will be required to wear facemasks.

The government has also announced that non-resident workers (holders of blue cards) living or staying outside of Macau need to return before midnight on Thursday or face a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon entry to Macau – at their own expense. This applies only to those who have visited the mainland within the past 14 days.

It is possible for non-resident workers to obtain a doctor’s certificate from the Zhuhai City Health Department before returning, but this will also likely require a 14-day quarantine in Zhuhai.

Health authorities may grant exemptions for foreign employees to comply with the relevant measures, the government said. It also called on employers to make arrangements as soon as possible to minimize the impact of the implementation measures, i.e. get the employees across and find them accommodation in Macau.

It is not known how many workers will be affected by the change., However, official data shows that yesterday, 11,000 mainland-based employees, 10,000 residents, and 2,800 tourists entered Macau via the border checkpoints.

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