Chinese residents will be able to travel to Macau with an e-visa from November 1

HONG KONG, Oct 31 (Reuters) – China’s immigration bureau said mainland residents will be able to travel to Macau from November 1 using an online visa system rather than in-person applications, a decision which could increase trips to the world’s largest gaming hub. .

In-person applications have been required for two and a half years due to COVID-19 restrictions. But the office said on Monday that since Macao’s current COVID situation was “stable” and demand to visit the city was increasing, the government had decided to offer e-visas.

The office said it would “launch exit and entry management policies and measures to promote economic and social development” in Macau in a notice posted on the government’s official WeChat account.

But the easing of visa rules comes just as the Macau government itself reinstated some tough COVID restrictions after a handful of cases were detected there in recent days after no infections for more than three months. .

Authorities closed the MGM Cotai casino resort owned by MGM China (2282.HK) on Sunday, with staff and guests ordered to stay indoors until November 1. said. Read more

The casino’s closure is a blow to operators who have already grappled with China’s “zero COVID” restrictions for more than two and a half years, losing millions of dollars a month.

Macau’s six casino operators – Sands China (1928.HK), Wynn Macau (WYNN.O), Galaxy Entertainment (0027.HK), MGM China, Melco Resorts and SJM Holdings (0880.HK) – are currently awaiting a decision from the government on whether they will get new licenses. Read more .

Macau leaders have said the decision could come as soon as this week.

Reporting by Farah Master and the Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Kim Coghill and Kenneth Maxwell

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