Macau shutters casinos as coronavirus crisis widens

Macau’s government has ordered the closure of the territory’s casinos for at least two weeks over fears coronavirus might be spread through venues.

The closures followed a reduction of some 87 per cent in the numbers of mainland Chinese visiting Macau during recent weeks, the result of the mainland government banning outbound group tours.

The casino closure is likely to decimate sales at the territory’s malls, most of which are located in the same mixed-use resorts housing the largest of the casinos. 

As at 10am ICT Wednesday, 24,503 cases of coronavirus had been reported, the vast majority in Mainland China. To date, 492 have died, all but two of those on the mainland, the other being in the Philippines and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, tourist destinations Disneyland and Ocean Park have been closed indefinitely and Shanghai Disneyland has also been closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Disney said in a statement that it expects its theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong to be shut for two months, resulting in a US$175 million hit to its operating income this quarter.

Retailers across Mainland China continue to close stores. Ralph Lauren says it has now closed about half of its 110 stores on the mainland. Tiffany has closed an undisclosed number in areas worst affected by the virus crisis. Hugo Boss has also closed an undisclosed number of stores in the market, where it experienced double-digit growth in the last quarter of last year. 


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