Seven hotels resume operation as casinos open

Sixteen short-term accommodation providers, including seven star-rated hotels and nine providers of budget accommodation, resumed operation yesterday, along with the reopening of 29 casinos across the city, the Macao Government Tourism Office announced at the government’s daily press conference.
The reopening of the seven hotels will release a total of 2,073 rooms to the city. The four star-rated hotels that will remain closed are the Rocks Hotel at the Fisherman’s Wharf, The 13 in Coloane, as well as the Conrad and the St Regis, both at Sands Cotai Central. The casino at Sands Cotai Central also remains closed.
With the resumption of operation, there are 13 accommodation providers, equivalent to 1,543 rooms, still not in operation.
Today sees the end of the third phase of government-arranged mask sale. Yesterday, Director Lei Chin Ion of the Health Bureau (SSM) was asked whether the government has secured the supply of face masks for the fourth phase.
In response, the director said the sale of face masks is running smoothly. Further details on the fourth phase of the mask distribution system will be announced within a day or two. The Public Security Police Force (PSP) has been helping to maintain order at selling points and said yesterday that queues at each selling point have recently shortened, compared with those at the start of the phase.
Three government bureaus, namely the SSM, the Labor Affairs Bureau and the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, joined together yesterday to conduct inspections at the public and employee areas of the Venetian Macao and the City of Dreams properties.
The SSM explained that they were inspected to confirm whether the properties have abided with the bureau’s guidelines. Results were satisfactory, according to the SSM.
Currently, the government is intercepting people for tests at Macau’s border checkpoints. The SSM has been asked several times for the list of “severely infected” areas. The bureau’s director disclosed part of the list for the first time.
“With more than 1,000 cases and [the] steady growth of new cases, I assure you that Guangdong is on the list,” Lei said. “Meanwhile, Henan and Zhejiang provinces are on the list too.”
The director also disclosed that three of the four provincial-level municipalities on the mainland are also on the list. “Shanghai, Beijing and Chongqing are on the list,” the health regulator said, adding once again that the list is not final and will change from time to time as per the development of the epidemic.
Tourists coming in from these places, or who have been there in the past 14 days, will be sent for medical tests that will last for eight hours at the longest. Macau residents, on the other hand, will need to make a self-declaration regarding their travel history.
“All arrivals by land will be medically checked,” said the director, referring mostly to the borders with Guangdong province. However, arrivals from Hong Kong via the new bridge should not be affected, because Hong Kong is not on the list of severely affected areas.
Lei was also questioned whether his bureau will tighten checks on Macau residents too. The health regulator stressed that government measures are regularly fine-tuned to cope with the changing situation.
“As Secretary [for Social Affairs and Culture] Ao Ieong U has said, if the situation worsens, measures may be implemented on Macau residents,” Lei recalled. “We can’t rule out any measure, but logically speaking, if we don’t allow parks to reopen with 15 days clean [of new cases], people will complain.”
“We can’t block everybody from coming in. For example, if we don’t exempt cross-boundary drivers, we may not have sufficient food and consumable supplies,” the director pointed out. Despite this, he reminded members of the public to remain vigilant.
With regards to the influx of foreign workers, mainly from the mainland, into local residential buildings, Lei said in the long term it will help Macau combat the epidemic. In accordance with current requirements, they have made health declarations and had their body temperature screened as they entered Macau.
“Their staying in Macau will stop them from regularly and frequently crossing the borders,” Lei explained. “Currently, they are considered healthy and should not be discriminated against.”

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