Macau to reopen leisure venues after two-week Covid-19 closure

The hiatus for recreational businesses dealt a further blow to Macau's economy that largely relies on gambling and tourism. PHOTO: NYTIMES

MACAU (BLOOMBERG) - Macau will reopen some entertainment and leisure venues such as gyms, cinemas and bars from Wednesday (Aug 18), saying that no more cases were reported after a local family became infected with the Covid-19 virus earlier this month.

The locations were closed from Aug 5 to stamp out the flare-up, the city's first cluster of local cases in more than a year.

The city has not recorded any new cases for 13 straight days since the four family members tested positive for the more transmissible Delta strain.

The Macau government has stepped up testing of all residents and is requiring people to have a negative result to leave the city, in response to the spread of the variant.

The two-week hiatus for recreational businesses has dealt a further blow to the economy, which largely relies on gambling and tourism.

Arrivals have so far only recovered to less than 10 per cent of 2019 levels and quarantine requirements remain for those coming from many places, including Hong Kong and parts of mainland China, where most visitors come from.

Other venues that will reopen from Wednesday include theatres, indoor amusement parks, game arcades, beauty salons, karaoke parlours and nightclubs, the government said in a statement Monday.

"The decision to allow these facilities to resume operations takes into consideration the improvement in the epidemic situation," the authorities said, adding that it "is aimed at supporting a gradual resumption of normal economic activities and normal life in the city".

Casinos, the enclave's lifeblood, stayed open. The world's biggest gaming hub has not shut down the gambling sector since an unprecedented 15-day suspension in February last year.

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