Macau closes all casinos in new lockdown

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
The Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) has announced that all casinos in special administrative region have been shut down following the continued rise in Covid-19 cases.

The decision has been approved by Macau Chief Executive Ho Ian Seng, who said that all casino operations will be suspended from midnight on 11 July to midnight on 18 July, with the possibility for an extension if needed.

This is this the first time that the city has undertaken general lockdown measures for more than two years, though it has implemented strict travel restrictions for much of the time in between.

The lockdown will affect non-gaming businesses as well, as all industrial and commercial companies and venues would be required to suspend operation, with some essential services exempted from these measures.  

According to official figures, there have been more than 1,500 covid cases recorded in the city since June, with more than 19,000 in mandatory quarantine, including many in the Grand Lisboa casino.

While 90% of the city’s residents have been given at least two doses of a Covid vaccine; China and its special administrative regions have continued to pursue a “zero-covid” strategy. As a result, outbreaks that may be relatively small by western standards still result in strict government action.

Before recent wave, Macau had approved a major overhaul of casino tax and licencing laws, as the region struggles to recover from the economic damage of the pandemic.

Even before the lockdown, the Macau casino industry has struggled with the effects of travel restrictions and other rules in place, with revenue more than 80% below pre-Covid levels in the first half of 2022.

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