Macau Closes Businesses, Casinos for a Week

The zero-tolerance policy of the Chinese government has once again hit the gaming business in Macau hard. Late last week the government announced that all businesses and casinos would be required to close for seven days and residents stay in their home as positive Covid tests soar.

The recent rise in Covid cases in Macau has resulted in the second closure of casinos in the SAR, the first was the end of January through early February in 2020. The lockdown goes into effect at midnight on July 11 and goes until midnight on July 18. All industrial and commercial businesses, including casinos, will be required to close, except for some essential services and all residents must stay in their homes, leaving only for “reasons of necessary work, purchase of basic goods for everyday life or for other urgent reasons.”

Secretary for Administration and Justice André Cheong Weng Chon made the announcement and said everyone venturing outside must wear a mask of the HN95 variety or higher. “This is not a request. This is an order,” he said.

Macau police will be patrolling the streets and will prosecute those who violate the lockdown.

“If people are going out unnecessarily, the police will first ask them to return home, and if they continue to disobey, then the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act will be used to prosecute,” a police spokesman said.

In addition, all Macau residents must report for at least 12 Covid tests during the closure. As of Friday, 1,374 Covid-19 infections had been recorded over the past two weeks in the SAR.

According to Inside Asian Gaming, it’s unclear whether laid-off casino workers would be paid.

“Employers are not required to pay staff salaries, but it is better to come up a solution which is the best for both employers and employees,” replied Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong.

The lockdown is just the latest blow to the Macau gaming industry, which has been reeling from quarantines, a junket scandal, new gaming regulations and much more.