Macau to require visitors and staff to provide COVID-19 test certificate to enter casinos
A statement issued on Sunday by Macau’s health authorities reveal that they will start requiring all people wishing to enter the city’s casinos to have their body temperature measured and to display a health-declaration statement, as well as a certificate of a ‘valid nucleic acid test’ issued within the previous 48 hours, in order to prove they are free from any COVID-19 infection. The new measures come as the casino hub struggles to curb its worst outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic.
Furthermore, officials also stated that casino staff will also be required to produce a negative test result for Covid-19 before each work shift, via a rapid antigen test. Furthermore, and whenever possible, casino staff should wear KN95 protective masks when in the presence of customers.
Additionally, Macau’s gaming regulator also issued a press release where it urged all the city’s casino operators to strictly comply with the anti-epidemic prevention guidelines issued by the health authorities. Officials are calling for "strengthening cleaning and disinfection work in casinos," and reducing mobility and movement of personnel within the venues.
The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau stressed that individuals inside casinos should maintain sufficient space between themselves and others, and wear a protective face mask in an effort against the virus. The city hasn’t shut casinos since a 15-day closure in February 2020.
Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said last week that officials will only close individual venues if Covid patients are found to have entered the gaming areas during a specific period. The gaming sector employs the bulk of the local workforce, which puts pressure on officials to avoid a shutdown.
"Individuals entering casinos must cooperate with anti-epidemic prevention measures in order to reduce the risk of spread of infection," the regulator said in its announcement. The body also added it would continue to strengthen epidemic prevention inspections in casinos.
Macau began on Monday a new round of mass testing of the population via nucleic acid tests. The latest round started at 9 am and is due to be completed by 6 pm on Tuesday (June 28). The local population has also been required since June 22 to undergo a number of rapid antigen tests, using kits provided by the local authorities.
The city reported 96 infections on Sunday, taking the total in the outbreak that started June 18 to 357, according to Bloomberg. Authorities have already ordered the closure of public departments and venues including bars, nightclubs, cinemas, gyms and hair salons; but casinos have been exempted thus far. According to analysts, casino revenues are likely to be close to zero in the coming weeks.