The worst phase of the coronavirus alarm seems to have passed, and impacted areas are attempting to return to their normal state. Satisfied that they’ve done enough to stop its spread, Macau is preparing to re-open casino operations in the special administrative region.
According to Macau Business, at midnight, February 20, Macau casinos will be permitted to start up again. This disclosure came thanks to Lei Wai Nong, Secretary for Economy and Finance, who told the press earlier in the day.
However, it won’t be back to normal so soon. All staffs and visitors to the casino will have to wear face masks, just as they did at the time immediately before the operations were forced to close down. New procedures will also be introduced, like adding extra space between gaming tables.
On February 5, Macau casinos were forced to close down for a mandatory 15 day period. The government said at the time that if the coronavirus epidemic couldn’t be contained, the closure period could be extended. Analysts predicted a week later, that the closure could stretch on, assuming government officials would want to take all safety measures before letting people back in.
As reported by calvinayre.com, overall, there were 10 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Macau. 5 of the affected were from Wuhan, where the epidemic started. All 5 of those infected have recovered and returned home, while not a single new case of infection was observed in Macau since the February 5 closure started.
This is delightful news for the casino concessionaires of Macau, who, due to the closure, have had a very hard time. Early on Wynn Resorts assessed that for every day the casinos remained closed, they were losing $2.5 million a day.
Still, gross gaming revenue (GGR) won’t possibly be anything like it was last year. In the time leading up to the shutdown, GGR dropped 75% year over year, with visitor numbers falling in a very long time. However, at least there was some GGR.