Macau Casinos Shut Down as China Fights to Contain Coronavirus
The recent outbreak of the coronavirus has had quite an impact on Macau. The very popular gaming and hospitality hub is always bustling with visitors from all over the world but since the outbreak, the number of visitors has reduced significantly. It is estimated that by the time February 1 rolled around, the number of visitors going to Macau had dropped by up to 80 percent.
Needless to say, this was expected to deal a massive blow to the city’s economy but things are about to get even worse than that. The still-operational Macau casinos have now been asked by the city’s government to shut down their operations as China tires to contain the spread of the virus which is now considered to be a global health threat.
Two or More Weeks of No Operations
There have been a few cases of the coronavirus reported in Macau but no deaths have occurred so far. Even so, the situation seems to require more thorough measures in order to ensure that that the virus is successfully contained and eradicated.
For this reason, the gambling operations in the city of Macau will remain closed for the next two weeks. However, in case the virus is not successfully contained within that period, they will remain shut until further notice. This decision is meant to reduce the risks of person-to-person transmission of the virus. Apparently, the requirement that all people wear masks is not the best way of ensuring that the virus does not spread.
“This is a difficult decision but we have to do it, for the health of our Macau residents,” City Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng said during the announcement.
Macau has already had some rough patches in recent times which makes the decision to shut down its casinos even more concerning but it is important to acknowledge the health impacts of the temporary shutdown. Hopefully, everything will line up appropriately once the dust settles.
Experts are projecting that Macau will see a drop of up to 50 percent in its gross gaming revenue. This applies to the first quarter of 2020 and is being compared to the same period last year. In case, the casinos remain closed for the rest of the first quarter of 2020, we could see drops of up to 70 percent.
Naturally, this might be a little hard to recover from especially since the city has been experiencing a streak of negative things that have already chewed into a huge chunk of the revenue it hoped to collect. Due to the travel bans and not the coronavirus, it will be much harder for the casinos in the city to pick up the pace and finish off the year on a high note.
Now, the most pressing question pertains to whether the shut down will solve anything going forward. There is a lot of optimism that it will certainly prevent people in the crowded city from acquiring the virus.