Manila’s casinos and integrated resorts appear set to remain closed for at least two more weeks after Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte extended Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) measures within the National Capital Region (NCR) until 14 May.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases said Thursday it was finalizing a list of businesses that would be allowed to reopen in MECQ areas to help boost the economy although it is unlikely casinos will be on the list at this stage.
The impacted National Capital Region comprises Metro Manila plus nearby Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.
In a public address, Duterte apologized to the nation for extending MECQ but insisted it was necessary to contain the Philippines’ largest outbreak since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. The Philippines passed 1 million cases this week although new cases fell to 6,877 on Wednesday – down from a record high of 15,298 on 2 April.
The NCR was originally placed under the more restrictive Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) for one week starting 29 March with casinos and IRs across Manila confirming at the time that they had suspended operations for a second time in the space of a year.
Last year gaming regulator PAGCOR first announced the suspension of gaming operations across the NCR on 15 March, with casinos eventually allowed to reopen at 30% capacity five months later in August.