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Macau casinos follow authorities in dropping mask mandate

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Numerous Macau casino operators are dropping requirements for clients and staff to wear masks inside their venues, after the SAR government also relaxed mask requirements today.

According to information collected by AGB, both Sands China and Wynn Macau are no longer requiring masks in their facilities, with experts noting the change is positive but that some workers may still proactively choose to keep their masks on.

AGB has learned that Sands China is now only requiring that its employees wear a mask when entering the company’s clinic and when taking the company’s bus. The group has also told employees that the use of masks is necessary when they feel sick.

And Wynn Macau has announced the lifting of mask measures via a newsletter to all employees, noting that it has cancelled the mask mandate for indoor venues. But the company notes that employees with COVID symptoms, such as fever, cough, and muscle pain, are required to use a mask.

Stephen Lau
Stephen Lau, President of the Power of the Macao Gaming Association

Authorities in Macau announced over the weekend that they would drop the mask mandate for outdoor activities starting today (February 27th), the announcement was published after Macau’s chief executive Ho Iat Seng expressed confidence in Macau’s economic growth this year.

Stephen Lau, head of the Power of the Macao Gaming Association, noted that gaming workers are reacting positively to the new measure, however most of the casino workers will continue to use masks during work.

Based on his observations, Lau noted that casino workers have gotten used to wearing masks, as the space in the casino is confined and there are a lot of people, which is not conducive to air circulation, and the spread of COVID can be very fast.

Lau pointed out that, contrary to the relaxation of the mask requirement, some of the casino workers worry that wearing a mask will not be allowed in the future. “The concern is the fear that COVID is not 100 percent eliminated at this moment,” notes the association head.

Various public services in Macau are also following the government’s relaxed measures, canceling the mandatory use of masks indoors, such as the Public Administration and Civil Service Bureau (SAFP) allowing their office workers not to wear a mask. However, the Commission Against Corruption and Macau’s courts are still requiring entrants to use masks indoors.

Macau casinos follow authorities in dropping mask mandate
Zeng Zhonglu, Professor from the Macao Polytechnic University’s Gaming Research Team

Speaking to AGB, gaming scholar Zeng Zhonglu opines that the cancellation of the mask mandate will significantly improve Macau’s image as the world’s largest gaming hub.

“The decision will give a positive sign to tourists physiologically, being mask-free contributes to the city’s image as a safe gaming hub to play and stay”, notes the scholar from the Macao Polytechnic University’s Gaming Research Team.

Zeng also forecasts that any remaining mask mandates indoors will also be lifted soon, noting that “authorities will observe the situation, if nothing serious happens, the full drop of mask mandates will be applied soon”, he said.

Currently, for private venues, companies may decide if they require visitors to use masks or not, while no law strictly requires the use of masks indoors.

Regarding Macau’s gaming recovery, Zeng Zhonglu notes that Macau’s solid recovery rhythm so far will support Macau’s February gross gaming revenues reaching 50 percent of the same month in 2019, which will be slightly lower than January. “This February has no public holidays and has three fewer days than the month of January, so the lower GGR is normal”, predicts the scholar.

Viviana Chan
Viviana Chanhttps://agbrief.com/
Viviana Chan is an editor, interpreter, and journalist. With over a decade of experience, she writes in English, Chinese, and Portuguese. Viviana started her career in Macau-based newspapers, where she became passionate about the region's social, financial, and cultural development. Her writing focuses on the economy, emerging industries, gaming development, political affairs, and cross cultural-exchange in the business and cultural domains. She is avid for news and eager to discover and cover stories that generate public relevance.

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