Number of hotels closed for casino hiatus reaches 23 as Macau goes dark - IAG

Sunday 9th February 2020

SJM's Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16 as well as the Legend Hotel and Rocks Hotel at Macau Fisherman's Wharf, plus Melco's Altira, have joined the growing list of Macau hotels to temporarily suspend operations while the SAR's casino sector endures a forced 15-day closure due to the Coronavirus.

Closure of the hotels, which follow last weeks announcement by Sands China that it had closed the Four Seasons, St. Regis and Conrad in Cotai, takes another 921 rooms offline with Sofitel Hotel boasting 409 rooms, Legend Hotel 224, Altira 216 and Rock Hotel 72 rooms.

Integrated resort Ponte 16, where Sofitel Macau is located, announced on Friday that the entire property would remain closed until city-wide operations resume on 20 February.

"The casinos, F&B outlets, leisure facilities and shuttle bus service of Ponte 16 Resort, Macau are temporarily closed until further notice," Ponte 16 Resort stated on its website.

Altira also announced a similar decision to suspend its hotel, spa, dining and shuttle bus operations until further notice.

Meanwhile, Grand Harbour Hotel, located at Patane on the Macau Peninsula, and 15 guest houses have also shut down, taking the total number of hotel establishments already closed to 23.

According to latest data from the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Macau has a total of 121 hotel establishments with 38,100 rooms.

The MGTO said in a press briefing that the closed hotels have suspended operations for a "short-period" only, while the government has urged operators and guests not to hold large-scale banquets. Many other hotels have also stopped accepting reservations due to being short-staffed.

Melco's City of Dreams and Studio City announced last week that any hotel bookings through their official website from now until 29 February can be rescheduled or refunded without any additional charge.

As the total number of confirmed cases of the virus reached 10 last week, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng announced that all gaming operations in Macau would be shut down for 15 days from midnight on 5 February, aimed at curbing the spread of the novel Coronavirus.

The number of confirmed cases has not increased in the last five days.

Although hotels, dining and retail outlets are technically not affected by the casino closures, the six gaming concessionaries have since shuttered multiple entertainment events and public shows, as well as restaurants and shops.

In a unique sight, most electronic signage along the Cotai Strip was turned off over the weekend as the normally vibrant gaming hub went dark.

MGM China, which operates MGM Macau and MGM Cotai, announced that it will waive 15 days of basic rent for retail tenants at its properties for the period from 5 to 19 February 2020. The waiver covers both leading local brands and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

"We adopt stringent measures to protect our guests and team members. At this difficult time, our thoughts are also with our retail tenants, especially the local SMEs. We hope that this rent relief can help alleviate their burdens so they can ride out the current hardship for a swift recovery," said MGM China CEO and Executive Director Grant Bowie.

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