The number of people who have contracted the coronavirus is still on the rise, as well as the number of people who have died from this disease that attacked mainland China over a month ago. Because of that, many businesses were shut down, and the entire city of Wuhan was put under quarantine to prevent further spreading of the virus.
Nevertheless, the virus reached the popular tourist destination of Macau, which has seen a decline in numbers after the outbreak. Right now, the entire area is experiencing a double-digit decline in a year-on-year comparison, and all employees and guests in casinos are required to wear protective masks.
This is done to prevent the coronavirus from spreading at a fast rate and to protect both the workers and the visitors.
What Do The Numbers Say?
The Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau released figures on Saturday that state all casinos in Macau managed to generate a total of MOP22.1 billion, which is approximately US$2.76 billion in January. There’s no need to explain why there was such a huge drop.
Fearing the coronavirus, many people decided not to travel to Macau, which is usually the busiest during the second part of January when the Chinese are celebrating their Lunar New Year. The majority of festivities throughout the country were canceled due to the issues caused by the coronavirus.
Even figures in December 2019 were down by 13.7 percent compared to December 2018. The reason for that is probably the visit of President Xi Jinping, as well as the restrictions that China imposed when it comes to visiting Macau from mainland China.
Mind you, not until the very end of December did we know that there was a growing epidemic of the coronavirus was spreading all over China.
Measures Taken In Macau
Macau first started to measure the temperature of every visitor entering casinos. There was a thermometer at the entrance, and any visitor with a high fever was sent to go to a checkup instead of being let into a casino. This was the only measure until recently, when authorities decided that everyone needs to wear a mask to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.
Finally, the latest measure that was taken was that casinos had the right not to let anyone in who admitted having been in the province of Hubei in the last two weeks.
Right now, all casinos in Macau are operating at 20 percent of their capacity, and the analysists at Fitch Ratings are predicting that the virus could seriously affect earnings. They go as far as to state that the casinos could earn $2 billion less in 2020.
A group of people who are currently representing all the workers in Macau casinos are petitioning to close casinos for 14 days to maximize safety. All the banks, schools, and many other public services are allowed to close, while casinos are still working, although not with full capacity.
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