With the easing of COVID-19 measures in Macau, gaming companies are no longer requiring customers and employees to wear masks when trying to set foot in casinos.
Macau government decision:
Macau authorities reported over the weekend that from Monday masks will no longer be mandatory in outdoor zones, while the decision on whether people wear masks indoors can be made by the owner of that particular business.
This is set out in the exact advisory notice: “From Monday, February 27, it should be safe to go mask-free in most outdoor and indoor locations – due to the abated risk from Covid-19 locally.”
However, the Macau Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center noted that in locations where people gather in large numbers, it will be left to the decision of the owners of the premises whether to require people to cover their mouths and noses.
But it’s important to note that even before Monday’s announcement, wearing masks was not obligatory in most situations, except for a short period throughout a local outbreak of COVID-19 that occurred in July.
Customers and employees decide to continue wearing masks:
Since the new announcement came into effect from Monday morning as mentioned above, six concessionaires such as Melco Resorts, MGM China, Galaxy Entertainment Group, Sands China, SJM Resorts and Wynn Macau are also updating their guidelines for their customers who wish to enter in the casino premises. The same goes for Cotai properties City of Dreams Macau and Venetian Macau.
Furthermore, they can now get into each Macau casino with or without a mask and that decision is up to them.
An example of this is an announcement published by one of the concessionaires to its employees, in which it is stated that “starting at midnight today, all customers and employees entering the resorts, including the casinos, are not required to wear masks. However, if you have a fever, sore throat or cough you must wear a mask.”
Moreover, a number of Macau casinos that involve the Grand Lisboa peninsula properties, MGM Macau and Wynn Macau are strictly adhering to the newly established measures.
Still, a large number of customers still decided to wear masks, although there is no real need for it, because they are afraid of contracting diseases.
In this regard, one customer said: “Since it is still necessary to wear a mask when taking transportation but there is no restriction for indoor and outdoor activities, I will continue to wear it when I travel in Macau to avoid having to wear it at one time and take it off at another time.”
Furthermore, another casino employee said: “Although my company no longer requires casino employees to wear masks, most will continue to do so.
“The measure of not having to wear a mask has just been relaxed, but the casino is so crowded that many employees choose to continue to wear it on their own.”
Stephen Lau Ka Weng, President of Power of the Macao Gaming Association, added: “We have received a lot of feedback from staff and members of other organizations that most of them would like to wear masks at work because they are worried about the high density of people in the casinos and the rapid spread of diseases.
“Currently, gaming staff can choose whether to wear masks at work, and there is no mandatory requirement for staff to remove their masks.”
Cloee Chao Sao Fong, head of local gaming labor activist group New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association, also added: “As far as we know, all casinos allow their table game staff members to freely choose whether or not to put on a mask. [Gaming] patrons knew they are not obliged to put on masks, but they still do it… perhaps they are… used to this habit [since the Covid-19 pandemic], which gives them a bigger sense of safety.
“However, we understand that many casino staff still chose to wear masks, given their long hours of face-to-face interaction with gaming patrons.”
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