Macau Travel Restrictions Eased Again for Foreign Visitors

  • Macau is shortening the quarantine period for foreign visitors
  • Macau has struggled to move past the effects of the pandemic
  • There is a “zero-COVID” standing policy all throughout China
  • Casino operators’ stocks soared following the news Friday
Macau casinos at night
Macau is easing travel restrictions for foreign visitors, which prompted a boost in casino operators’ stock prices on Friday. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Effective this weekend

China has announced that it is easing travel restrictions to popular southern city and gambling hub Macau.

gambling, VIP housing, and tourism have all plummeted

Macau has confirmed that it will follow suit, opening the door to travel in and out of the small, lavish region. Macau has been hit hard by the worldwide pandemic and ensuing travel restrictions as a variety of services, including gambling, VIP housing, and tourism have all plummeted.

China’s National Health Commission said on Friday that as of Saturday, November 12, foreign visitors will only have to quarantine in designated facilities for five days, two fewer than they had to previously. After that, travelers must self-isolate for three days before joining the general public in a plan called “5+3.”

New Macau travel restrictions and policies

The ease in the guidelines will benefit Macau tremendously. In addition to the other rules, tourists also needed to return two negative nucleic acid tests upon arrival, though that number has been reduced to one.

During the three-day isolation period, visitors can leave their temporary places of stay if they test negative that day and upload the results to the online Health Code monitoring platform. Users can then access the Health Code app and will find a QR code with a “Green” health designation after the results have been processed. 

A green status means that the individual is unlikely to have or spread COVID, which has been a huge problem for Macau residents. 

no longer require mass testing for residents

Macau also announced Friday that it will no longer require mass testing for residents. However, tourism is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels or even show significant improvement until China’s “zero-COVID” policy is lifted.

The soon-to-be-gone restrictions were tightened last month when a dealer at MGM China’s casino tested positive for the deadly virus. Prior to that person testing positive, Macau had not recorded a single case of COVID in three months.

Numbers and news

Casino operators with properties in Macau saw their stock prices enjoy large gains during Friday morning trading in light of the news.

Melco Resorts made the biggest jump with a 9.13% increase from opening Friday, while Las Vegas Sands rose 5.67%, Wynn Resorts went up 6.11%, and MGM Resorts increased 2.97%. 

still a long way to go to reach normal levels of tourism and gambling participation

There is still a long way to go to reach normal levels of tourism and gambling participation in Macau, but global operators have been steadied by the rapid return to normal life in Las Vegas, Nevada.

While all of this is going on, Macau is also in the news for other reasons. In September, Alvin Chau, a gambling head living in Macau, went before judges and denied his involvement in money laundering and illegal gambling operations in mainland China. Gambling is illegal in all areas of China except for Macau, which is part of what makes it such an attractive getaway for many Chinese residents. 

There is also fierce competition for Macau’s six casino licenses, which are all set to expire at the end of the year. The Genting Group surprised the industry by entering the battle for one of the licenses, and it appears to be ready to wriggle its way into the market at the expense of an incumbent operator.