Macau Casinos on One Week Shutdown to Solve Coronavirus Outbreak, Stocks Dive

By Matthew Wong
Matthew Wong
Matthew Wong
July 13, 2022 Updated: July 13, 2022

Due to the recent growing numbers of COVID-19 infections in Macau, the Macau government announced on July 10, that all operations of businesses and places with industrial and commercial activities will be suspended from midnight July 11 until July 18. Only essential businesses and places such as supermarkets and pharmacies would be allowed to remain open. The casino shares in Macao slumped after the official announcement.

On Monday, July 11, the share prices of Macau Casino stocks on the Hong Kong Exchange suffered losses. Sands China Ltd, the subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, dropped 8.1 percent; while Wynn Macau Ltd and SJM fell 6.7 and 6.6 percent respectively; MGM China was down 5.4 percent.

The stocks of Wynn Macau Ltd and MGM China have lost 38 percent and 37 percent respectively so far this year.

According to the Macau government website, 71 new covid-positive cases were reported on July 10, totaling 1,374 infections since June 18, with 2,861 cases considered close contacts.

The gambling and gaming industry, which is the life-blood of Macau income and tourism, has suffered severely during the pandemic. On July 5, a cluster of infections was found in the Grand Lisboa Macau Hotel, which led to a total lockdown of 500 people within the hotel itself. It became the first case of a gambling facility being locked down since the coronavirus outbreaks began in February 2020.

The exempted companies include: public services such as water, electricity, natural gas, fuel, telecommunication, public transport, and garbage collection; essential businesses such as fresh markets, supermarkets, restaurants, bars, dining establishments, pharmacies, health care, and other companies or entities which are officially approved for exemption by authorities.

Cheong Weng-chon, the Secretary for Administration and Justice of Macau, said that public service departments will remain closed for a week. During this period, only emergency services are provided and employees will work from home.

Restaurants can only serve takeaway food, as dine-in will be prohibited.

Ouyang Yu, Director of vice-chairperson of Macau Novel Coronavirus Infection Response Coordination Centre, said that if citizens continue to mobilize, infected people will pass on the infection to others. Yu believed this would be an appropriate time for Macau to enter a non-mobilized state, to achieve “dynamic zero” as soon as possible.

Ruth Tong contributed to this article.

Matthew Wong