Just over a fortnight ago, a casino in Macau’s Chinese territory closed to allow space and time to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. The 15-day mandatory shutdown period finally ended, and some 29 gaming establishments moved to quietly reopen.

Unsurprisingly, little activity has been reported in the city, with establishments that have since reopened having very few visitors. In reopened gambling establishments, the people who frequent them are separated by very strict measures and rules which aim to prevent the spread of the virus. Anyone wishing to enter a casino must comply with new regulations, which in particular provide for the compulsory wearing of a face mask and other health regulations.

Prepare for more difficult times.

It goes without saying that the city’s economy has already been badly affected by the epidemic and that the compulsory stop has made the situation worse. Unfortunately, things are not about to get better. According to casino executives and Macau residents, the activity will continue to slow. Gaming and hospitality are the main economic drivers of Macau, and almost all other businesses depend on them. This is why everyone will feel the effects.

To put things into perspective, Macau said that from last week, the number of daily visitors fell 98% to around 2,000. This decrease is due to the suspension of individual trips and the cancellation of ferry services. All of this dealt the city’s revenue sources a severe blow – 80% of that revenue came from casino operators.

Experts have confirmed that even with the reopening of some of the casinos, gambling revenues will drop by more than 80% this month and by at least 50% in March year over year. Despite this, one of the casino executives who said the reopening was the right decision

One thing is certain: with everything that is going on, the decision made by the managers of the casino is very courageous.

And now?

Among the most significant advances, better measures to prevent the spread of the virus – most of them are already in place. Other issues will also need to be addressed, including employee concerns about possible infections, layoffs, and cut wages. Casino workers have inevitably felt the pinch caused by the significant drop in income, but a framework is necessary so that they can return to work.

Labor will be essential to resume Macau’s activities in the coming months. This is why the casino operators are already preparing, hopefully, to provide clarification on the way forward with regard to working arrangements and remuneration.

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