The Macau government published an executive order signed by Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng on Tuesday that mandates the closure of all casinos and a string of other entertainment businesses from 00:00 on February 5 (Wednesday).
According to the order published in the Official Gazette (BO), the objective of the order is to respond to the “risk” of a community outbreak of the novel coronavirus and avoid the transmission of the virus in Macau.
Apart from ordering the closure of all gaming businesses as well as a number of other entertainment venues, namely cinemas, theatres, amusement arcades, internet cafes, snooker parlours, bowling alleys, public saunas, massage parlours, beauty salons, gyms, health clubs, karaoke bars, bars, nightclubs, discos, ballrooms and cabarets.
The order, which is open-ended, took effect on Tuesday.
The government has also announced the closure of all public parks and sitting-out areas managed by the Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM).
Meanwhile, the Banco Nacional Ultramarino (BNU), one of the issuing banks of Macau, announced the closure of 10 branches and the reducing working hours of another 10.
All clientele need to use facemasks when entering BNU headquarters and its branches.
It was also announced on Tuesday the closure of all medical clinics.
RUN TO SUPERMARKETS
Following Ho’s announcement at a press conference in the afternoon that the city’s 48 casinos would be closed for two weeks (15 days) has triggered a run to supermarkets by residents worried that the supply of foodstuffs would be affected by a possible closure of Macau’s border checkpoints, irrespective of the fact that Ho reaffirmed during the press conference the government’s stance of keeping the checkpoints open, considering Macau’s dependence on merchandise imports and the fact that thousands of Macau people live in the adjacent mainland city of Zhuhai.
The government responded to the run by reassuring the public that the city’s food supplies are sufficient.
Macau has no agriculture. Virtually all daily necessities are imported from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and elsewhere.
Macau is one of the world’s most densely populated territories.
Nearly 680,000 people live on just 32.9 square kilometres, resulting in a population density of about 20,600 inhabitants per square kilometre.