Macau’s casinos will reopen for business on Thursday, as the 15-day shutdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 comes to an end.
However, the South China Morning Post reported that the order will remain for other entertainment premises such as pubs, karaoke bars, cinemas and steam rooms.
Secretary for economy and finance Lei Wai-nong said the closure order would not be extended and casino operators had 30 days to return to full business.
As part of safety precautions, casino visitors would be required to wear a mask and have their temperature checked at the entrance.
The closure was put in place on February 5 to curb the coronavirus after it was found that two casino workers were among the ten infected cases in Macau.
Macau has not reported any new cases of the virus since February 4.
Macau lawmaker Au Kam-san was quoted by the report as saying that the lifting of the closure order of casinos was expected. “Gaming industry is too important to Macau. The government could not afford to let it close for too long. There could also be pressure from the casino operators because they are still paying the staff while the casinos are closed.”
There are 39 casinos in Macau and the gaming sector employs more than 56,000 people, some eight per cent of the city’s population, according to the report.
The closure marks the longest-ever shutdown of gambling activities in Macau since 1999, and the second such suspension, after Typhoon Mangkhut caused a 33-hour shutdown of Macau’s casino industry in 2018