Today marks the end of the extended COVID-19 lockdown imposed by the government of the Chinese city of Macau.
As a response to the largest outbreak in Macau thus far, all casinos and non-essential businesses will remain closed. The city experienced over 1,500 new cases in the past three weeks.
Macau is likely to reopen casinos on Saturday following the end of the lockdown today. However, restrictions on non-essential businesses like cinemas and fitness clubs will remain in place as the government rolls out a slow reopening over the next two weeks. Moreover, during this period the city’s 600,000 residents are required to stay home, excepting emergencies, meaning even operating businesses will suffer decreased demand.
Expect increased financial hardship for Macau’s working-class citizens, as the government does not obligate employers to pay their staff during lockdowns. A short-term loss in economic productivity from the casino industry likely as it accounts for one fifth of the city’s employment and half of its GDP. However, the casinos are unlikely to suffer in the long-term as they already demonstrated resilience to lockdowns after surviving a 15-day closure at the beginning of the pandemic. In the medium-term, Macau officials will continue to respond to outbreaks with the same level of intensity as the Chinese mainland’s zero-Covid policy.
Ali is a Copy-Editor and Analyst on Daily Brief team, contributing regularly to the Daily Brief. He also leads the Foreign Brief Week in Review multimedia team. He focuses on political and development issues in the Middle East and North Africa.