Eased measures

Macau reopens borders to 41 countries in hopes to boost economy; still requires Covid testing and quarantine

Reading time 2:20 min

Covid-19 restrictions in Macau continue to ease. According to the latest announcement from the city's authorities, Macau will lift an entry ban for non-resident foreign nationals from certain locations from September 1. The eased measures will apply to foreigners from 41 countries, including Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US, among others.

According to Macau's Health Bureau, eligible travelers can enter Macau without prior authorization but must take a COVID-19 test within 48 hours before departure and undergo seven days of hotel quarantine, followed by three days of self-health monitoring.

In terms of domestic measures, individuals in Macau must register their addresses or most frequented locations to receive a health code. Facemasks are mandatory in public, and people must present a negative nucleic acid test result taken within three days to enter most venues.

Industrial and commercial companies, including casinos, may operate at a limited capacity but must abide by health protocols. Venues must ensure that all staff, visitors, and performers are fully vaccinated or hold a negative nucleic acid COVID-19 test result valid for 48 hours. Thermal scanners are in place at all entry points into Macau and many businesses, including casinos.

In terms of international travel restrictions, residents from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan may enter Macau if they have not been to other locations in the previous 10 days. 

Arrivals from Hong Kong and Taiwan must be fully vaccinated and provide a negative COVID-19 test result obtained taken within 24 hours before departure. Travelers leaving Macau through the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau border checkpoint must present a negative nucleic acid test result taken within 24 hours. Additionally, individuals arriving from Zhuhai must hold test results issued within the last 48 hours.

Transport between Macau and Hong Kong remains available only via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Several airlines continue to suspend most international flights at Macau International Airport (MFM) amid generally reduced demand. Ferry services have resumed with Shenzhen and Shekou in mainland China but remain suspended with Hong Kong.

The 41 countries included in the eased measures are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, United Kingdom, Brunei, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and the United States.

Macau first closed its borders to nonresidents in early 2020, with the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) remaining accessible only to citizens of mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Executive Order No. 166/2022 implies a positive development for the return of international visitation, and welcomed news for the six commercial casino operators in the city.

The new measures should benefit the gaming hub, which has been greatly affected by the latest Covid outbreak, sparked in June. Macau’s gaming industry saw GGR drop by 50.7% year-on-year to MOP 2.19 billion ($271 million) in August, according to the latest data shared by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ). However, last month’s figure is up by more than five times on a monthly basis from July, when gaming revenue hit an all-time low collecting only $49 million. 

Although daily visitation has improved, tourists have been slow to return, even after mainland China resumed quarantine-free travel with Macau in early August. For the first seven months of 2022, visitor arrivals were down by 26.3% year-over-year. The tally of same-day visitors, at 2.18 million, and overnight visitors, at 1.29 million, fell by 2.6% and 47.9% respectively. 

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