Macau casino visitors no longer require negative COVID-19 test to enter
Desperately seeking to return to pre-pandemic conditions, Macau has further relaxed its casino entry procedures, allowing visitors to enter the gaming floors without requiring negative COVID-19 test. Effective from March 3, visitors to Macau casinos no longer need to submit proof that they are free of the potentially lethal and highly contagious COVID-19 infection. Since early last year, casinos in the world’s richest gaming market had been forced to require visitors to present a negative COVID-19 test certificate.
A few days back, stocks in Macau’s six commercial casino operators gained momentum after the authorities announced that people entering the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) would no longer have to undergo mandatory quarantines. Previously, before the removal of the quarantine requirement, people entering the SAR were forced to undergo quarantine for a period of two to three weeks. However, the situation has now improved much.
In a recent press release, Macau government stated, “The number of infection cases reported on the mainland had significantly dropped since mid-February. No mainland city or area had been identified by the mainland authorities as a medium- or high-risk area for COVID-19 infection for 10 consecutive days.”
The relaxations are really encouraging developments for the struggling gaming industry of Macau, which has suffered huge losses due to COVID-19 pandemic-induced months-long shutdown and the subsequent restrictions.
However, it is worth-mentioning here that only people arriving from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan can currently allowed to travel to Macau without restrictions. Moreover, one should not expect a rush of visitors in the near-term, and that will likely not happen until mainland China resumes e-visa applications for its widely popular Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) permits.
IVS allows users to visit Macau on an individual basis. Before the launch of the IVS scheme in 2003, only people with business visas or on group tours were allowed to enter the SAR. Mainland Chinese authorities suspended the e-visa process in 2020 after the onset of the potentially deadly COVID-19 pandemic, as part of their desperate efforts to help prevent further spreading of the deadly infection.
Macau officials have long been working with mainland Chinese authorities to resume e-visa applications as IVS users play a crucial role in the gaming-based economy of Macau. That is expected sooner than later as no mainland Chinese area is currently considered as a high-risk area for COVID-19 infection.