Macau, the world's biggest gambling hub, shall finally allow casinos to resume operations starting February 20, Thursday, after authorities slapped a two-week suspension due to the coronavirus outbreak. The suspension was to keep the virus in check, according to public broadcaster TDM.
Most of the government services that had been suspended since February started will also resume operations this week, and authorities are cautioning the residents to remain vigilant.
The government of Macau has informed casino operators which include MGM China, Galaxy Entertainment, SJM Holdings, Melco Resorts, Sands China and Wynn Macau that they have 30 days to get back to full business.
Executives say that while casinos have been allowed to operate once more, business is most likely to be slow and limited due to Macau's curtailed transport links and strict controls on visitor entry, including the suspension of ferry services from neighboring region Hong Kong. Even Chinese players would probably be unwilling to travel at this point. Executives therefore expect that few customers will visit when casinos first re-open, and they believe it will take about two to three months before business rolls back to normal.
Almost 30 hotels, most of them joined to casinos, have been closed down for the past two weeks due to the suspension.
Macau closed casinos for a 15-day period that started February 5, the longest shutdown ever for the world's biggest gambling hub. Wynn Resorts said it is losing about $2.5 million a day, while MGM said it is losing $1.5 million a day in Macau.
Macau has confirmed 10 cases of the virus so far, but has not reported any new infections since February 4.
The 2-week casino closure in Macau was to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus after it was discovered that there were two casino workers among the 10 cases of the virus, which spreads the disease now called Covid-19.
Among the 10 confirmed cases of the viral infection, five patients have recovered, while the other five are still in the hospital with ‘mild' symptoms.