MACAU – Macau's casinos will reopen Thursday, February 20, after authorities lifted a city-wide two-week closure aimed at stopping the spread of the deadly new coronavirus.
The resumption of the lynchpin industry comes after the city reported no new infections in the last two weeks, with the number confirmed cases at just 10 people.
The former Portuguese colony took the unprecedented step of shutting down almost all of its lucrative entertainment sector earlier in the month, including casinos, nightclubs, and many bars.
The vast majority of Macau's tourists are mainland Chinese travelers, drawn to the city's casinos.
As the only place in China where casinos are allowed, Macau's gambling houses account for about 80% of government revenue.
Authorities said casinos that don't want to reopen because of low tourist numbers could apply to extend the closure, but they must be up and running within 30 days.
Macau's government has been keen to ensure the casinos keep employing staff through the downturn and are trying to avoid layoffs.
Officials said all gamblers and casino staff must wear face masks.
First found in the city of Wuhan in central China, the new coronavirus has infected over 72,000 people on the mainland and 60 in Hong Kong.