Casinos and other gaming establishments are among venues ordered to close by the Philippines government after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) recommended raising the COVID-19 alert level in Metro Manila from Level 2 to Level 3.
Alert Level 3 will initially be in place from 3 January to 15 January 2022, with the IATF-EID predicting a spike in cases in the coming days due to holiday activities and reduced compliance with public health measures. The rest of the country will remain at Alert Level 2.
In announcing the latest classification, the government said activities considered high-risk for transmission would not be allowed, including “casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments, except those that will be allowed by the IATF or Office of the President.”
Representatives of major Manila integrated resorts told Inside Asian Gaming they are currently awaiting more guidelines around what they can and can’t do.
Also banned will be face to face or in-person classes, contact sports, karaoke bars, clubs and theaters, funfairs and carnivals, and household gatherings for anyone not from that household.
Allowed to operate at 30% capacity for indoor spaces and 50% for outdoor will be MICE venues, weddings and funerals, theme parks, libraries, museums and galleries, amusement arcades, restaurants, spas and salons, fitness studios and more.
“We saw an exponential rise during the past days because of the holiday activities where there were increased movement and compliance with minimum public health standards may have been disregarded,” said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.
“Local cases of the Omicron variant were also detected.”
The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Philippines climbed to 2,961 on Friday, up from double digit cases just weeks ago.
Manila’s casinos were previously granted permission to reopen to the public at 30% capacity on 16 October when the government reduced the NCR’s alert level from Level 4 to Level 3. Casinos had been closed since 6 August, although invited VIP guests had been allowed to enter from 16 September.
The Alert Level was lowered from Level 3 to Level 2 on 5 November 2021.