The casinos in Macau are open again, but in the fight against the corona virus you have to follow a series of strict rules. For two weeks the Chinese gambling city Macau was a ghost town. Due to the corona virus, all casinos were required to be closed by local government order, which seems to have helped, as no new contamination has been detected in Macau since February 4.
Last Thursday, a select group of 29 casinos opened again. But it is far from business as usual. The Macau government has drawn up a long list of strict rules for both casino visitors and staff to keep the virus from spreading again.
Every second slot is turned off
Of course, anyone who wants to enter a casino must wear a face mask, but almost everyone who goes on the street in Macau does that anyway.
Some of the antiviral rules:
- All visitors must have their body temperature measured. Those who have a fever will not enter the casino.
- Before you step on the gambling floor, you must declare via your mobile phone that you are healthy and that you have not been at increased risk of the corona virus.
- Anyone who has recently been in the Hubei Province (where the coronavirus epidemic started) will be refused.
- Every second slot is turned off, so there is more distance between the players.
- At the gambling tables, both the dealer and the players must disinfect their hands with disinfectant gel after every few rounds.
- Only three players may be seated at a table; normally there is room for seven.
- Standing at the tables is prohibited. You must be seated to place a bet. Watching with players is not allowed.
According to the South China Morning Post newspaper, the rules are strictly adhered, but there is little chance of contamination anyway, as hardly any tourists come to Macau.
In Venetian Macao, the largest casino in the gambling city, only a handful of the 600 gambling tables are used for the card game baccarat. Blackjack and roulette are hardly played in Macau under normal circumstances, so those games are not offered at all now.
€ 1.5 billion in damage
The corona epidemic and its consequences are catastrophic for the gambling industry in Macau. According to Fitch Ratings business analysts, the two-week mandatory shutdown cost casinos around $ 1.5 billion.
But the damage is getting much bigger and the end of the misery is not yet in sight. The local news site MacauBusiness.com reports that only 1,400 tourists come to Macau on a daily basis. Normally there are about 100,000 a day.
Even if the corona outbreak extinguishes, all travel bans are lifted, and all flights return to normal, it will be a long time before the Chinese economy will be able to recover. And the less money is made in China, the less money is spend in Macau.