The Macau SAR Government has revealed it will shut down all 41 casinos in Macau for a period of two weeks following confirmation of two new cases of the Coronavirus in local casino industry workers, taking the total number of confirmed cases in Macau to 10.
The bombshell news was announced by Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon local time.
At a second press conference held four hours later and following consultation with operators, Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wei Long, confirmed that all casinos and related gaming establishments would close as of midnight on 5 February 2020 for a period of 15 days, with the goal of preventing the spread of the Coronavirus.
All six gaming operators have promised not to suppress their employees’ rights.
“The gaming concessionaires promised they would not force staff to take unpaid leave. They will continue with their corporate social responsibility,” the Secretary said.
Hotels, restaurants and shops in Macau’s integrated resorts will remain open.
Today’s somewhat surprising announcement represents a marked U-turn given that authorities had been reassuring the public that the government’s response has been sufficient.
Despite Tuesday’s stunning announcement, Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng says a total closure of Macau’s borders is not an option the government will consider.