Manila’s casinos and gaming operations are into their second week of closures after the Philippines government extended Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) measures until 11 April.
The extension of ECQ, which covers the National Capital Region (NCR) plus Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, comes after the Philippines recorded 36,755 new cases in the first three days of April, including its highest single day tally on record with 15,310 last Friday.
However, the Presidential Palace has hinted that ECQ could be eased to Modified ECQ as early as next week due to a lack of funding to continue necessary support for low income families. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque also outlined seemingly ambitious COVID-19 case numbers the government anticipates it can achieve after just two weeks of lockdown.
“Prior to the ECQ that we imposed, we had a one-week travel bubble in NCR Plus and we’re looking at another week of MECQ after this week,” Roque said over the weekend.
“If we impose another week of ECQ in addition to the bubble and the one week of ECQ that we’ve had already, and if we were to impose another week of MECQ, we are looking at around 4,000 cases a day which is a tremendous reduction from the 12,000 that we have right now.”
As previously reported by Inside Asian Gaming, ECQ requires the suspension of all gaming operations with all four Manila IRs and PAGCOR-operated casinos currently closed. The city’s integrated resorts, namely City of Dreams Manila, Okada Manila, Resorts World Manila and Solaire Resort & Casino, were only permitted to resume at 30% capacity last August after restrictions were eased to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) – two levels below the current ECQ.
Last week’s resumption of ECQ measures in Manila comes just over 12 months since gaming regulator PAGCOR first announced the suspension of gaming operations across the NCR on 15 March 2020.