Casinos in Manila will be allowed to reopen from Saturday, at 30% capacity, the Philippine government has confirmed.
The measure follows the downgrading of the alert level status of Metro Manila from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3, from 16 to 31 October. The government’s national pandemic task force approved the move, which was later announced by Malacañang on Wednesday.
The alert level system remains in effect only in Metro Manila, reports Rappler, while the rest of the country will continue to be under the "quarantine classification" system. The Alert Level 3 means most business establishments, facilities, and services are allowed to open, although at varying degrees.
Casinos, horse racing and cockfighting will all be allowed to operate at the reduced 30% capacity level. Lottery, betting shops and other gaming establishments will also be permitted to open under these restrictions.
The decision affects businesses at large. Restaurants, amusement arcades, indoor tourist attractions and more will also make a return. Cinemas and theaters will be allowed to re-open for the first time since the pandemic began. Metro Manila accounts for a third of the nation’s economic output.
Casinos and other gaming venues have been closed since early August, when the National Capital Region was placed under the strictest Enhanced Community Quarantine for an initial two-week period. The current alert level system was implemented in September, allowing for eased restrictions across large areas.
On Wednesday, when the announcements were made, the Philippines government reported 7,181 new cases of Covid-19. It marks the lowest daily figure since August 4. Travel rules for locals have been eased, as the economy struggles to recover from the pandemic.
The Southeast Asian nation has opened vaccinations to all adults, and will begin inoculating minors this week. Nearly 22% of the population is fully vaccinated.