Macau Sees Negative COVID Tests After Potential Outbreak
Macau casinos remained opened as many entertainment businesses were forced to close recently amidst a small COVID-19 outbreak.
Over the past few days, hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 tests have been taken in Macau due to an onset of the virus. A family of four tested positive last week and that led to the country closing down most of the entertainment venues and testing more than 700,000 people. Casinos were allowed to stay open but if the outbreak had been worse, they would have most likely shut down.
Trying to Stay Open
Casinos are hopeful they can stay open in Macau and travel restrictions will be lifted in the near future. Health officials say the recent outbreak stemmed from an adult female contracting the virus while visiting the Guangdong province.
When the virus was made known in Macau, the businesses were ordered to shut down and everyone was to take a nucleic acid test. This took place from August 3 to the 8. After the testing was completed, all results were negative. Just over 2,200 people did not take the test and they have been asked to do so or to quarantine for 14 days.
Right now, additional restrictions are not in place and no further testing is planned. If a family member or acquaintance of the family that contracted the virus gets sick, more testing will be imminent.
Unfortunately for casinos, the positive cases affect travel restrictions in the region. Only those who come from mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are allowed to travel to Macau. The lack of tourism is affecting the casinos negatively, with July showing a decrease in revenues by almost 64%.
For this month, GGR is down 48% and that is just in the first week of operations when compared to last month. It seems that the travel disruptions are only going to continue to affect the region and cause casinos to see poor revenue results.
Pushing For Vaccinations in the US
As for COVID-19 and casinos in the US, more and more operators are pushing for employees to be vaccinated. The effort by casinos has been strong from the very beginning, as many feel it is the only way to keep venues operational on a continual basis.
Major gambling areas like Las Vegas have many casinos requiring employees to be vaccinated or to take regular tests in order to ensure that no one is positive. Venues are also offering incentives for employees who choose to be vaccinated. In Arkansas, one casino operator has decided to provide additional vacation days to those who take the shot.
The Saracen Casino Resort is providing the additional days plus an opportunity to win $1,000 in an employee drawing if they show proof of vaccination. The hope is that more people will be vaccinated and that it will keep outbreaks from taking place within casino venues.
States are also taking the initiative and offering lottery options for people who are vaccinated in the hopes of increasing the number of those who have taken the shot. Already, several people have won large prizes, including $1 million by taking part in these special contests.
For now, the virus continues to spread, even among those who are vaccinated. However, by taking the shot, it lessens the effect that the virus has on the body and lowers the risk of major complications or death.
Casino operators are fearful that the virus may get too out of control and either travel will stop, or they will be forced to shut down again. If this happens, some operators may not be able to recover. Hopefully, people will become vaccinated or at least wear masks and social distance so the closures do not take place for a second time in just over a year.