Macau reopens casinos and businesses, but still with limitations on operation
The shops and casinos of Macau will reopen from Saturday, but with limitations on the operation, announced today the authorities of the territory, following a daily decrease in cases of Covid-19.
“In providing their services, companies, entities and establishments (…) must limit the number of people to be served, ensuring distance between people and requiring them to scan the QR code of the establishment,” reads an order from the head of government published in the Official Bulletin.
The territory, which had recorded about 80 cases since January 2020, was hit in June by the worst outbreak faced since the start of the pandemic, which infected more than 1,700 people, mostly asymptomatic cases, and caused five deaths, all elderly people with chronic diseases.
After going into immediate prevention, with restrictions on mobility, several rounds of massive testing and forced quarantines of the population, the authorities decreed, as of July 11, a partial confinement, now moving to a phase they call consolidation, in line with the zero-case policy determined by Beijing.
In this transitional phase, in addition to “companies and entities that provide essential public services and services necessary to ensure the indispensable functioning of society,” the Ho Iat Seng government will allow the operation of establishments that “have access to the public road” and that can guarantee the ventilation of the space, explained the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Elsie Ao Ieong, during the daily health conference today.
Casinos are the exception to this rule. “The Health Services, with the competent services have already seen the conditions of ventilation and cleanliness and the casinos have conditions,” added the official.
The director of the Macau Health Services, Alvis Lo, also told reporters that, “in order to gradually recover the functioning of society,” some recreational areas will reopen and residents will be allowed to walk their pets near the area where they live, unlike what happened in recent weeks and which prompted strong objection from the population.
Nevertheless, the order published today warns that the population should avoid leaving their homes, “except for work, shopping, or other urgent or necessary reasons,” and when doing so, adults will still be required to wear masks of “type KN95 or higher standard.”
Several people have been identified and convicted of violating partial confinement in recent weeks, one of them to a five-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
Also the schedule for mass testing, which for the past few weeks has been taking place every other day, will change, with only groups defined by the government having to do it with this same frequency.
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