Macau’s casino operators have been instructed to implement a series of new safety regulations and restrictions to their gaming floors upon re-opening this week, aimed at preventing large crowds of customers gathering in close confinement.
The restrictions, issued by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau on Tuesday, include limiting the number of gaming tables allowed to open on any casino floor to no more than half to ensure adequate space between tables.
Guests must also leave one empty seat between one another when at a gaming table and will not be allowed to stand near the table to play, meaning a maximum of four players can be seated at any seven-seat baccarat table at one time.
Similar rules will be applied in slot machine areas as well, with guests required to leave an empty machine between one another during play.
As reported by Inside Asian Gaming on Monday, Macau’s casinos will be permitted to re-open from midnight this Thursday 20 February after Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong confirmed the government would not extend the forced closure of the city’s gaming industry beyond the initial 15-day period.
Gaming operators are said to have cleaned and disinfected all gaming areas and facilities during the closure period, and must continue to strictly follow the Macau Health Bureau’s instruction to increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection.
Requirements already imposed before the casino closure will remain in place after the re-opening, such as carrying out temperature checks on all guests and staff at entrances, requiring guests and staff to wear face masks, and prohibiting the admission of any guests who entered into Macau from Hubei Province.
Notably, the announcement that non-resident workers crossing into Macau from mainland China from 20 February onwards are to be quarantined for 14 days before being allowed entry saw an influx on Tuesday with around 21,000 workers crossing the border, up from 11,000 the previous day.
Total arrivals into Macau increased from 25,000 on Monday to 45,000 on Monday, including a 52.7% increase in the number of tourist arrivals to 4,300 following Monday’s news that casinos would re-open – a small but much-needed step in the right direction. Visitor arrivals between 27 January and 17 February had plummeted 92.5% due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, while hotel occupancy for the first two weeks of this month was just 11.6% according to the Macao Government Tourism Office.