As a surge in COVID-19 cases hits the gambling hub of Macau, one of the city’s most iconic hotels, the Grand Lisboa has been shut down with some 500 guests, residents, and staff still inside.
Gamblers were allowed to leave as they weren’t seen as having interacted with the afflicted after 11 new cases were discovered there Tuesday.
The Grand Lisboa is one of more than a dozen buildings in the former Portuguese enclave that are completely locked down to the public with no unauthorized persons allowed to enter or leave.
Grand Lisboa is owned and operated by SJM Holdings and was founded by the late Godfather of Macau, Stanley Ho.
14,000 in Quarantine
More than 14,000 people are in quarantine within the city of roughly 600,000 and a single hospital. On Wednesday another 146 cases were reported bringing the total in the latest outbreak to more than 1,000.
One reason the latest surge is so concerning is that the special administrative region (SAR) of China has been almost completely Covid-free since the Fall of last year. The current outbreak is the largest since the pandemic began.
While China’s “Zero COVID” policy is in effect in the SAR, authorities have stopped far short of a complete lockdown as has been seen in other cities on the Chinese Mainland in recent months. Part of the policy, as implemented in Macau is a requirement for residents to submit to city-wide testing three times in the coming week. They can also be made to do rapid testing in between.
Nearly all other casinos are open but very few gamblers are seen inside and all are operating with a skeleton staff as employees honor the government’s request they stay home unless absolutely necessary. All dine-in eateries have revoked seating across the city but take-out is still available.
Reuters reports that SJM Holdings has noted it is in strict compliance with the government’s requests and mandates and is in full support of Covid outbreak controls. In an email to the international news agency, the company stated: “SJM stands united with the entire community in this health crisis and wishes Macau a rapid recovery from the pandemic.”
MGM Macau, another mega-resort casino there, sits next to the One Central shopping mall downtown. The casino and hotel have not been affected by it to date, but six people at the mall tested positive and the outlet was closed on Wednesday.
In Cotai, the 2 sq mile section of manmade land on Seac Pai Bay between Taipa and Coloane islands in Macau, sections of the Shoppes at Four Seasons, a Sands Retail shopping mall have been closed as of Wednesday. On Monday, authorities stated that at least 40 people on the first floor of the mall had tested positive.
The earliest Grand Lisboa could open is July 11, and then only if the risk is assessed to have dropped from “red status” to yellow.
Source: 500 in Grand Lisboa lockdown, Macau Covid cases top 1,160, GGRAsia, July 6, 2022