With the Macau government deciding to allow casinos to reopen on February 20, labor groups for casino employees are expressing concerns about potential safety risks related to the coronavirus transmission.
The concessionaires were orignially ordered to shut down on February 5 for 15 days over fears of the coronavirus getting out of control. With no new cases after the order to close, they felt it time to re-test the waters.
Labor groups still aren’t convinced that returning to work is safe. Cloee Chao, the head of the New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association, provided a letter to the Macau government suggesting that reopening the casinos at this time was “irresponsible” and suggested that local efforts to try to curb the spread of the disease were still at a “critical stage.”
In a further statement provided to GGRAsia, Chao explained, “Reopening casinos is just increasing the instances of people going around and gathering, especially for the [casino] staff that are catching their companies’ shuttles and eating at canteens.”
The head of the labor group claimed that “all these gatherings of people just added to the risk of spreading the virus. The operation of casinos is supported by, apart from dealers, several other types of back-office staff such as the cleaning workers, security workers, administrative staff, chefs and waiters at the staff canteens. They are all coming back collectively when the virus risk is still there.”
While being granted permission, some casinos appear to be a little hesitant about reopening their doors. Despite the fact that these casinos lost a significant amount of revenue during the shutdown, none of the six casino concessionaires plan to reopen to full capacity. Instead, a “phased reopening” plan is being implemented.