The Macau government has ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses from July 11th, shuttering its casinos for the second time in three years.

The closure will be until at least July 18th, it said.

Only businesses which are deemed to provide essential services will now be allowed to remain open, such as supermarkets, pharmacies and businesses providing utilities, such as water and electricity.

The casinos had been allowed to remain open despite the closure of all other leisure facilities from June 23rd. However, visitation is virtually zero and the operators had also been told to reduce staffing levels to 10 percent of normal.

In addition, Saturday’s Executive Order instructs all individuals to stay at home, unless their outings are necessary, i.e., for work in businesses exempted from closure, for grocery shopping, or in event of emergency.

“When outside, members of the public must wear a face mask, according to the Executive Order. Adults must wear a KN95 face mask or face mask above such standard; minors may wear any form of protective face mask,” it said.

As of Friday, Macau had recorded a total of 1,374 cases, with 71 newly discovered infections during the course of the day. It’s the worst outbreak the city has suffered since the beginning of the pandemic and has also prompted the first two deaths in elderly patients.

Gross gambling revenue was at its lowest levels in 21 months in June, since the border reopened with China after the first wave of Covid. Analysts have warned July may be even worse given the ongoing Covid crisis.

Macau shut down all of its casinos in February 2020 shortly after Covid emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Many of the operator’s hotels have been designated as mandatory quarantine facilities, including the Grand Hyatt in the City of Dreams and SJM Holdings’ Grand Lisboa Palace.