The novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) crisis has affected some 80 per cent of Macau’s restaurants and similar businesses, veteran lawmaker Andrew Chan Chak Mo told government-owned broadcaster TDM on Monday.
According to TDM’s Portuguese-language radio station, Chan described the impact on the sector as “very negative”. He pointed out that many restaurateurs are now focused on takeaway as an alternative revenue stream.
Chan heads the United Association of Food and Beverage Merchants of Macau. He is the CEO of Future Bright Group and Future Bright Holdings Limited.
Chan said that “perhaps” 80 per cent of Macau’s restaurants have restricted their business to take-aways during the current virus crisis.
The lawmaker representing the business sector also said that the sector’s crisis was due to a severe lack of clients and staff, considering that many restaurant employees are non-resident workers who have returned to the Chinese mainland. He urged the government to speed up the return of the non-resident workers to Macau once the crisis is over. He also suggested that the government grant restaurants and similar businesses tax rebates and deductions and interest-free loans, as well as issue restaurant vouchers.
Chan praised the government’s measures to fight the virus and urged the population and the restaurant sector to continue to collaborate with the government in its anti-NCP battle.
According to the latest available official statistics, Macau had 2,267 restaurants at the end of 2018.
The government ordered the closure of Macau’s 41 casinos and dozens of other entertainment venues last week. They have been closed for at least two weeks since Wednesday.
The government’s public administration has been reduced to “urgent” services, allowing most of the 33,000 public sector employees to stay at home in an effort to reduce the risk of NCP infection.
The government has also ordered all public transport passengers to wear facemasks.