The worst part about the coronavirus scare appears to have passed, and affected areas are trying to return to a sense of normalcy. Satisfied that they’ve done enough to stop its spread, Macau is preparing to re-open casino operations in the special administrative region.
Macau Business reports Macau casinos will be allowed to start up again at midnight, February 20. This revelation came thanks to Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong, who briefed the press earlier in the day.
However, it won’t be business as usual. All workers and vistiors to the casino will be required to wear face masks, much as they did in the period immediately before the operations were forced to shut down. New measures will also be introduced, such as adding additional space between gaming tables.
Macau casinos were forced to shut down on February 5 for a mandatory 15 day period. The government noted at the time that the shutdown period could be extended if the coronavirus outbreak couldn’t be contained. A week later, analysts predicted that the shutdown could stretch on, believing government officials would want to take all precautions before allowing people back in.
In total, Macau had 10 confirmed cases of coronavirus. 5 of the infected were from Wuhan, where the outbreak started. All 5 of those cases have recovered and gone home, while Macau has not had a single new case of infection since the February 5 shutdown started.
This is great news for the casino concessionaires of Macau, who have had a very rough time thanks to the closure. Wynn Resorts estimated early on that they were losing $2.5 million a day for every day the casinos stayed closed.
Even then, gross gaming revenue (GGR) won’t likely be anything like it was last year. In the period leading up to the closure, GGR was down 75% year over year, with visitor numbers taking their first dive in a very long time. But some GGR is better than none.