Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) has urged the city’s six gaming operators to call on their workers who are on leave due to the current coronavirus epidemic to refrain from travelling abroad, avoid crowds of people and stay at home.
According to a DICJ statement Friday night, the inspectorate has received information that some of the workers have travelled to the mainland for tourism since the casinos were closed earlier this week.
The inspectorate reminded the gaming industry that Macau’s 41 casinos have been closed since Wednesday for two weeks for the only reason to reduce the risk of infection with the novel coronavirus.
Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng announced the casinos’ closure on Tuesday. He described the drastic measure as “difficult but necessary.” It is the second time since the establishment of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) that the government has ordered the closure of all casinos, after 2018 when all casinos were closed for a few days due to a severe typhoon that pummeled Macau.
The government has said that some 40,000 casino workers are currently on leave, most of them dealers (croupiers).
The inspectorate warned the gaming operators that if any of their employees get infected with the virus during their leave this could become an obstacle to the reopening of the casinos.
The statement urged the casino workers to stay at home and refrain from travelling outside Macau during their leave.
While Ho said the casinos would remain closed for half a month, other government officials have said the closure would last 15 days, which would mean that they could open again on February 20 at the earliest, depending on government approval.
Ho’s executive order on the closure, which was published in the Official Gazette (BO), does not indicate when it will end.
Macau’s gaming industry generates over three-quarters of the government’s income and employs around 15 per cent of the city’s workforce.