(CMR) Macao, the world's largest gambling hub, has closed most businesses after dozens of locally transmitted cases of the coronavirus were discovered over the weekend. However, casinos remain open as the Chinese-ruled colony started mass testing on Sunday, with the testing of its 600,000 residents expected to end Tuesday.
According to CNN, the casino hub recorded 31 COVID-19 cases on Sunday, ending an eight-month streak of zero infections. The recent outbreak has resulted in officials closing schools, tourist attractions, cultural venues, and all non-essential businesses. Restaurants have been ordered to suspend dine-in services.
Casinos have been allowed to remain open; however, analysts say their bottom line will still be hit as the government has urged residents not to visit entertainment venues, CNN reported.
Macau is closed to all visitors except Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China residents. These visitors must quarantine for 10 days on arrival; however, some from low-risk areas in mainland China are exempt.
These restrictions are expected to affect Macao's economy, which traditionally depends on millions of visitors from mainland China. Shares of Macao casinos reportedly tumbled on Monday morning.
Macao's government relies on casinos for more than 80% of its income, with most of the population employed directly or indirectly by the casino industry.