People wearing protective masks walk in front of the Casino Lisboa, operated by SJM Holdings Ltd, at night in Macao, on March 3, 2020. (BILLY HC KWOK / BLOOMBERG)
HONG KONG - The Chinese mainland has loosened coronavirus-related border restrictions between the Macao Special Administrative Region and the neighboring coastal province of Guangdong, sending shares of Macao casino operators surging on hopes of a quick pickup in demand.
On Monday night, local authorities said visitors arriving from the special administrative region would no longer have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period in the neighboring coastal province of Guangdong
Guangdong authorities said late on Monday that, from July 15, visitors arriving from the world’s biggest gambling hub would no longer have to undergo a 14-day quarantine. The border with the mainland has been effectively shut since late March.
Hong Kong-listed Wynn Macau soared, up seven percent in Tuesday late morning trade while MGM China climbed five percent. The stocks are, however, still down 25 percent and 21 percent respectively for the year to date.
Some analysts were upbeat about recovery prospects.
“We expect demand from Guangdong can recover quickly to 70 percent of normal levels, assuming visas resume reasonably soon,” DS Kim, an analyst at JP Morgan in Hong Kong said.
But Vitaly Umansky, an analyst at Sanford C Bernstein, noted hurdles to movement into and out of Macao remain.
“Individuals coming to Macao from outside of Guangdong would face difficulties in travel as they would likely need to stay in Guangdong for two weeks prior to traveling home, which will severely restrict visitation,” he said.
Visitors must also still test negative for the coronavirus in the previous seven days and must hold green health codes for Macao and Guangdong.
The loosening of restrictions for Guangdong, which accounts for close to 50 percent of Chinese mainland visitation into Macao, comes as nearby Hong Kong imposes new strict measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Macao has not had a new local coronavirus case for over 100 days and all its 45 COVID-19 patients have been released from hospital. In comparison, Hong Kong has seen a sharp spike in the number of cases. Ferry services between Hong Kong and Macao remain halted.
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