Hong Kong Quarantine May End in Macau by July
Macau may decide to end the quarantine requirement for visitors from Hong Kong by July.
Macau is known as a gambling mecca in Asia. Every year, millions of people travel to the region to enjoy amazing casino gaming, entertainment, dining, and hotel stays. In 2020, the city was on lockdown more often than not in an effort to avoid a major COVID-19 outbreak. Since March 2020, officials in Macau have taken strict precautions to ensure that they do not have a huge outbreak of the virus and they have been successful. It seems now though; officials are starting to relax restrictions. By July, the region may be ready to remove a 14-day quarantine period for individuals traveling from Hong Kong.
Officials in Macau and Hong Kong decided to meet this week in order to discuss the entry protocols for both of the Special Administrative Regions. The leaders have spoken with local health experts, and they all agree that entry stipulations can ease in the coming weeks. The only way that it will not happen is if the number of COVID-19 cases rise.
Alvis Lo lek Long is the director of the Macau Health Bureau who stated that the new protocols require that Hong Kong must see 28 consecutive days without a new local case. If this occurs, then Macau will no longer require the two week quarantine on people who are arrive from the SAR.
Since June 5, Hong Kong has not seen a new COVID-19 case. If this remains in place, the country would be removed from the quarantine list by July 3. The two week quarantine is rough and keeps people from traveling into Macau due to the time needed in quarantine.
Casino resorts in Macau will be happy to see the restriction lifted. The area would be able to welcome more guests back for gaming, which would help increase the lower gross gaming revenues experienced by the SAR. Right now, the first five months of 2021 are down 66% when compared to 2019.
Traveling Now to Macau from Hong Kong
Currently, potential casino visitors from Hong Kong must arrive in Macau with a negative COVID-19 test. The test must have been completed in a 24 hour time frame. At the border, the visitor must then go to a hotel that the city designates and stay there for two weeks under medical observation.
Before the pandemic started, Hong Kong was responsible for 10 to 15 percent of the annual gross gaming revenues in Macau. Back in 2019, Macau saw over seven million people travel into the country from Hong Kong.
Analysts for the gaming industry say that even if the requirement is lifted, that visitors from Hong Kong will not increase quickly. Apparently, people will have to be vaccinated before they can visit and only just over 18% of residents from Hong Kong are inoculated fully.
Family trips will not be likely as children are mostly unvaccinated. It is also a concern that if travel returns quickly, new cases will pop up, and this will lead to the quarantine process starting over again in Macau.
Forecasts as to how Macau will fair in June have plummeted. Bernstein originally expected that the city would see a good turnaround but then the restrictions started back up again. The research firm now feels that casino revenue will be down 40% from last month and 70% when compared to June 2019.
Macau officials are hopeful that the number of positive cases in nearby provinces are slowing down and eventually, its borders can be opened back up and visitors welcomed in high numbers. Just how long that will take is anyone’s guess.