House of Dancing Water sees departure of 137 foreign employees

Melco Resorts & Entertainment yesterday did not renew the work permits of 137 foreign employees who work at The House of Dancing Water— an internationally acclaimed show that has been suspended for six months since June due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The suspension of the water-themed act will be extended for the next few months. It would not reopen in January 2021 as previously scheduled, according to a statement the gaming operator released.
The blue card holders “whose work permits expire during the show hiatus will be departing”, according to a statement made by Melco.
Such disheartening news came after the resort group made an announcement previously in June, promising that the show would be temporarily suspended and be “reimagined to offer new energy and excitement” during the downtime until January 2021.
The fact that the show’s creator and director Franco Dragone has been unable to come to Macau is said to be the deciding factor as to why Melco went back on its previous decision to reopen the production around Chinese New Year.
Since March 18, the SAR government has banned entry for foreign visitors in an effort to stem the Covid-19 transmission. Such restriction was extended to all overseas non-resident workers just one day later on March 19, with exceptions for residents from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Melco emphasized that the global tourism industry has been in the grip of Covid-19 as the travel restrictions in place across the globe have undermined the industry’s receipts.
In the latest financial report published by Melco, the group’s total operating revenues for this year’s third quarter stood at USD0.21 billion, down a drastic 85% from $1.44 billion from the same period last year.
According to the report, the sharp decline in its receipts was mainly due to the “softer performance in all gaming segments and non-gaming operations as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Chief Operating Officer of Melco David Sisk said it is saddening for him to see “amazing talent leave,” and expressed gratitude for the staff’s “continued efforts” during these difficult times.
“We thank each of them individually for their contributions, and trust they will leave with the belief that the show is a very significant part of their careers and that during this time their commitment has been truly recognized and retributed by the company. We sincerely wish them all the best in their future endeavors.”
A total of 137 blue card holders from the show was said to be informed by the gaming operator yesterday that their employment contracts were terminated and would not be renewed.
By far, nine blue cardholders as well as 57 local employees will stay in the team to keep the theater running.
Melco is currently offering assistance regarding travel arrangements for the discharged staff to return to their home countries.
A Times’ source, who was dismissed in June, confirmed that he is currently assisting a former colleague to go back home after the contract was not renewed.
In June, the gaming operator told the Times that the suspension of the show will force a reduction in the show’s 160 plus staff. Blue card holders employed at the House of Dancing Water, who comprise around half of the workforce, will be let go.
Melco previously noted that they were determined to hire local workers.
“We have very different workers’ situations, so we have to deal differently with them, case by case,” a company source said in June, explaining that “some are in Macau, some are not.”
The House of Dancing Water, a mainstay of entertainment production of City of Dreams, has drawn over 6 million audiences since its debut in 2010.

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