Las Vegas Is Closed But Casinos In Macau, China Have Reopened

Visiting Macau for the first time is like taking a time machine into the future. Some of the most outrageous and Orwellian-style skyscrapers fill this tiny former Portuguese colony that occupies a small peninsula and two islands off China's southern coast.

In normal times, it takes an easy one hour ferry from Hong Kong and about four hours by air from Beijing. I have walked the streets of Macau several times and can tell you it has the most unusual mix of colonial architecture and traditional Chinese. From temples to cathedrals and cobblestone streets mixed with Chinese restaurants and Portuguese cafes for famous egg tarts, it is one of the strangest places I have ever visited. There is even a Giant Panda Pavilion for up-close encounters with Panda Bears.

But how quickly the world has changed and since the pandemic started in China, Macau’s casinos were closed down for two weeks until February 19, to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

In 2019 there were over 108,000 visitors to Macau per day and now only 50,000 per week, many from Hong Kong, so they have a long way to go to get back to normal. Casinos are also operating 50% fewer tables than usual. Only 250,000 visitors arrived in Macau in the month after the casinos reopened, down 92% compared to 2019.