Melco to halt Cyprus operations over coronavirus concerns


Just as Cyprus Casinos (C2), the Melco Resorts and Entertainment-backed casino operator, was finding its groove in the Mediterranean island nation, everything is coming to a grinding halt. In an effort to help keep the coronavirus from spreading its evil, C2 announced that, as of March 16, all of its gambling activity is going to stop for four weeks. The initiative comes as Cyprus recorded its 49th case of COVID-19.

melco-to-halt-cyprus-operations-over-coronavirus-concernsFour satellite casinos, and one temporary casino, run by C2 have been in operation, as development continues on the massive City of Dreams (COD) Mediterranean integrated resort. The company, which is led by a joint venture, ICR Cyprus Holdings, between Melco and Cyprus-based Cyprus Phassouri (Zakaki) Ltd., made the decision to shut down in order to be “in full compliance with the decision of the Council of Ministers, announced on 15 March 2020, to suspend operations of certain private businesses including casinos, which tend to attract larger groups of individuals.”

C2 had, prior to the temporary closure, taken measures designed to slow COVID-19’s spread and had reduced the number of people allowed at any given time in the casinos. A maximum of 75, comprised of both visitors and staff, were allowed at all five venues, the C2 Paphos, C2 Ayia Napa, C2 Nicosia, C2 Larnaca and C2 Limassol. The Limassol property is designed to be a precursor to the larger, COD Mediterranean venue.

In announcing the closure, Melco Chief Operating Officer, International Andy Choy stated, “In these challenging times that call for extreme measures, we rally behind the government of Cyprus and the actions implemented to curb the spread of Covid-19… We fully support the decision to temporarily suspend the operation of entertainment facilities across the country in the best interest of all. We are also standing alongside our local partners and the entire tourism industry who have prioritised the safety of their personnel and guests with the utmost responsibility to safeguard their health.”

The closure is also in accordance with a local government ordinance that called for the closure of all commercial activity, including restaurants, sports facilities, movie theaters, museums, malls and any other location where crowds could normally gather. That closure is also in place for four weeks, starting March 16, but hotels are forced to suspend their operations until the end of April.

Fortunately for locals, Cyprus isn’t shutting down completely. Bakeries, pharmacies, grocery stores and a few other locations will remain open, but the number of customers allowed inside at any given time is restricted.

Traveling to Cyprus, if absolutely necessary, is still an option, although it isn’t recommended. Visitors must present a health certificate upon arrival, showing that they were tested for the coronavirus and will still be put into quarantine for 14-days, even if the test was negative.