Macau has urged both citizens and Chinese non-resident workers to avoid leaving Macau during the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday in February after almost 400 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Hebei Province and several sporadic cases elsewhere in recent days.
The Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) announced its latest call on Monday, urging small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to encourage their non-resident workers from the mainland to avoid returning to their hometowns for Chinese New Year. DSAL also met several employment agencies to outline their calls and reminded employers and employees to take individual protection measures to reduce the risk of transmission.
Macau’s Health Bureau also called on residents to avoid leaving Macau during Chinese New Year.
“The call is not compulsory,” a Health Bureau officials said Monday. “We hope to reduce the risk of transmission within the community. It doesn’t mean that Macau is in an urgent situation, but we want to prepare early to deploy various works and coordinate with different departments and institutions.”
Chinese New Year will run from 11 February to 17 February, with many people traditionally returning home several days before the holiday. The Chinese New Year Golden week holiday is usually a peak period for Macau’s gaming and tourism industry, but the pandemic saw CNY visitor arrivals plummet 78.3% year-on-year in 2020 to less than 261,100, down from 1.21 million in 2019.
Guangdong Province, a key source of Macau visitation, has already advised its citizens to avoid non-essential travel.
Macau authorities have also cancelled the annual Chinese New Year fireworks display and parade due to a delay in freight.