Macau casinos reopen after COVID-19 shutdown

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Without tourists, business was slow as Maca0 casinos reopened on Saturday after a nearly two-week closure in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The territory under Chinese control is trying to cope with the effects of Beijing’s “Covid Zero” policy.

Macau’s 41 casinos are unlikely to open many tables due to a lack of customers, Stephen Lau, president of the Power of the Macau Gaming Association, told Bloomberg.

Macau reported five COVID-19 cases on Saturday, down from 146 cases at the height of the outbreak.

Analysts have estimated that the closures will cost casinos $1 billion. The government has announced plans to distribute $1.24 billion to businesses affected by the shutdown.

Casinos and other businesses must limit headcount to 50% of normal. Activities that require masks to be removed for long periods of time, such as eating, should not be performed indoors unless there is a separate room for each person. Meals in restaurants remain prohibited.

Public transport has resumed, with passenger capacity capped at 60%. Bars, cinemas, nightclubs and shopping malls, with the exception of shops at street level, will remain closed. The initial recovery phase runs until July 29.

“We won’t see any tourists,” Lau told Bloomberg. “At the rate things are going, tourists might not return until mid to late August.”

Three Las Vegas companies with stakes in Macau – market leader Sands, Wynn Resorts Ltd. and MGM Resorts International, which has a partnership with a Hong Kong-based operator – declined to comment on the effects of the lockdown.

The Review-Journal is owned by the Adelson family, including Dr. Miriam Adelson, majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., and Patrick Dumont, president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands.

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