Macau’s casinos are open again, but as expected their gaming floors remained mostly empty when Inside Asian Gaming visited on Monday afternoon.
All casinos in the SAR were closed for 12 days from 11 July as Macau battled its first major COVID-19 outbreak since the start of the global pandemic in early 2020. They were granted permission to reopen on 23 July, but only on a limited basis, with less than 50% of casino staff permitted to return.
On Monday afternoon, IAG visited a number of casinos including Grand Lisboa, MGM Macau, Wynn Macau and The Venetian Macao. All had notable restrictions on their gaming operations in place, with less than 20% of tables open – although most slot machines were operational. To enter, customers are required to present a negative RAT result and wear a mask rated N95 or above.
At Grand Lisboa, there were a total of 10 gaming tables on the mass gaming floors of the casino, with around 20 gaming staff on duty, but only eight customers present.
MGM Macau was only slightly more crowded with around 20 customers frequenting the 10 tables in operation. Wynn Macau, also with around 10 tables open, had 15 customers although most were playing slots while there were barely 10 customers sighted at the once bustling Venetian Macao.
It was an even more dire scene in the non-gaming areas of Macau’s IRs after the Macau government announced Saturday that all commercial and industrial businesses in retail malls would be closed. Almost all outlets at the Shoppes at Venetian were closed Monday, except for take-away food stores and pharmacies, with the mall resembling a ghost town.
Although the number of confirmed cases in Macau has now dropped below 10 for four consecutive days, with no confirmed cases in the community for two consecutive days, the city remains very much in a state of economic zero given the impact of strict anti-epidemic measures.
From 23 July to 31 July, all Macau residents are required to wear a mask rated N95 or above when they go out, and those who go out to work are required to take a NAT test every two days. All Macau residents are required to take a RAT test every day. There will be a citywide NAT test on July 30 and 31.
What will the epidemic prevention measures be next week (already into August)? Can Macau residents remove their N95 masks? Will dining in at food businesses be allowed? The Macau government has not yet issued any guidelines.