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Macau has shut down operations at all casinos across the region for the first time in over two years, as the autonomous region grapples with rising COVID-19 case numbers.

This latest outbreak, which comes sometime after Macau’s 30 plus gaming establishments were ordered to close for 15 days in February 2020, has seen operations suspended for a week from today (Monday 11 July) until Monday 18 July.

Macau’s Government Information Bureau made the announcement after schools and public and entertainment venues, such as gyms, cinemas, theatres, indoor amusement parks, game centres, hair salons, bars, nightclubs, and dine-in services at restaurants were previously ordered to shutter from June 23.

“All industries and commercial companies and venues in Macao will be required to suspend operation from after the stroke of midnight on 11 July until the stroke of midnight on 18 July 2022 inclusive, except those in three categories of activity deemed essential to the community and to the day-to-day lives of the members of the public,” the GIB update reads.

According to the BBC, this move comes after 19,000 across the autonomous region were placed in mandatory quarantine, with 1,526 cases registered since the middle of June.

However, as outlined in Executive Order number 115/2022, there are three categories of exemptions regarding this latest shut down, which includes “services deemed necessary for the daily lives of the members of the public”. This includes wet markets, supermarkets, restaurants, food and beverage establishments, pharmacies, and healthcare services.

Furthermore, companies providing basic public services, such as suppliers of water, electricity, natural gas, and other fuel; telecommunication services; public transport; and waste collection; are also exempt.

This also includes commercial services necessary to the functioning of the community, namely hotel and associated accommodation; cleaning services; property management; and companies and entities responsible for wholesaling or transporting day-to-day produce and goods.

Finally, those entities and venues that have received approval to continue operations from their respective supervising authorities will also continue with operations.

Those not falling under the shutdown order imposed will be required to impose a limit on the number of patrons they can serve at any one time. 

They will also have to ensure customers or other visitors maintain proper social distancing, and insist that all people entering their venues scan the venue QR code.

“The Macao Special Administrative Region Government thanks members of the public for their full compliance and support regarding the anti-epidemic work being done,” the update continues 

“The MSAR Government is appealing for further concerted effort from the community, with a view to reducing to the lowest possible level non-essential movement in the community, and thereby minimising the spread of the virus. 

“These joint efforts would help realise the ‘dynamic zero-COVID-19’ epidemic-control goal, and to enable resumption at the earliest opportunity of normal community life.”