Macau Chief Executive, Ho Iat Seng, has expressed frustration that none of the city’s six gaming concessionaires have agreed to provide hotel facilities within any of their integrated resorts as quarantine venues, describing the COVID-19 outbreak as an exam for all involved.
His comments, made at a press conference on Tuesday morning in which he outlined even tighter restrictions to Macau’s borders, come after the government this week named an eighth hotel as a quarantine venue. The eight hotels in question are Pousada Marina Infante, Golden Crown China Hotel, Regency Art Hotel, Grand Coloane Resort, Treasure Hotel, Metropole Hotel, Grand Lapa Hotel and the two-star guest house San Tung Fong Commercial Inn.
“We keep looking for more hotels to be appointed quarantine venues but we can’t contact any hotels within integrated resorts,” the Chief Executive said. “We don’t want to utilize hotels in integrated resorts until the last minute since it would impact their dining and business operations, but it’s really difficult to find more available hotels at this moment.
“We previously shut down the gaming industry for 15 days, and the six gaming operators guaranteed to continue paying their employees during this period. They also donated many face masks and supplies for the government and many social associations. We’d really appreciate this contribution from the six gaming operators.”
Ho highlighted that COVID-19 is an exam not only for the SAR government, “but also for the six gaming operators.”
“The operators should reconsider what is the true corporate social responsibility (CSR),” he said. “CSR is not only about publicity in newspapers or donating several supplies to the public.”
“When the entire society encounters challenges, we should take and share more responsibilities together.”
The current law in Macau allows the government to requisition hotels in the case of emergencies, but the Chief Executive does not want to exercise the government’s authority unless absolutely necessary and has urged operators to support the government voluntarily instead.
“It would be much easier if we could find a hotel with 3,000 rooms. We pay for the fees, we don’t ask to use them for free.” he stated. “What the gaming operators have done, Macau residents see in their eyes and keep in their minds.”
Ho did say, however, that CSR would not have a direct relationship to the impending renewal of gaming concessions, although new gaming licenses may include a requirement for increased CSR activity.
Until then, the government continues to utilize the eight hotels requisitioned for quarantine, while SJM has also shut down Casino Taipa and Casino Lapa, located next to the Regency Art Hotel and Grand Lapa respectively.
With around 680 Macau ID holders to return to Macau via Hong Kong betwee now and 31 March, the government is expected to need more hotels for quarantine.