Malacañang Palace announced Thursday that it would raise the COVID-19 alert level from Level 2 to Level 3 in another 14 cities and provinces across the country from 9 January, including in Pampanga – home of the Clark Freeport Zone.
The move follows an earlier decision to raise the alert level in Metro Manila for two weeks from 3 to 15 January due to rising COVID-19 cases numbers. Alert Level 3 will initially be in place for one week, until 15 January, in Pampanga and other regions named by the government on Thursday.
The Philippines reported 17,220 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday – most believed to be the Omicron variant – up from under 3,000 last Friday and from less than 100 in mid-December.
“We are reverting back to a stricter quarantine protocol to minimize mobility and exposure of the coronavirus,” said Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Our minimum public health standards shall be strictly enforced and violations shall be dealt with accordingly under the law.”
It is unclear at this stage what impact the increased alert level will have on Clark’s privately owned casino resorts.
When announcing increased restrictions for Manila last week, the government had said activities considered high-risk for transmission would not be allowed, among them “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.”
However, as revealed by Inside Asian Gaming, Manila’s integrated resorts – City of Dreams Manila, Okada Manila, Resorts World Manila and Solaire Resort & Casino – are still able to operate at 75% capacity provided they follow certain COVID-19 guidelines. Those guidelines include ensuring that all guests are fully vaccinated.
An advisory sent to operators last week and seen by IAG said operators must “diligently check the vaccination status of their respective patrons/guests to ensure that only the vaccinated are allowed access to the property.”