As part of its effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease, the Macao SAR Government announced in late January the cancellation or postponement of all major public events scheduled for the near term. At the time, it also ordered the closure of many public facilities for culture, sport and leisure. Macao SAR Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said these decisions were made to limit crowding, which might otherwise carry the risk of the virus being passed on. A number of public facilities for culture, sport and leisure in Macao began reopening in stages from 2 March.
Public activities due to be held to celebrate the Lunar New Year in late January were called off. The Macao Government Tourism Office cancelled all its festive events, which included the “Parade for Celebration of the Year of the Rat”, street performances around the city and a fireworks display. Other government bureaus that cancelled their Lunar New Year activities included the Cultural Affairs Bureau, the Social Welfare Bureau and the Sports Bureau.
Several Macao institutions, including integrated resorts, have followed the example set by the authorities. All concerts scheduled at the Cotai Arena in the Venetian Macao integrated resort were postponed until further notice, according to the Venetian Macao website. The resident show at the City of Dreams Macau complex, “House of Dancing Water”, was suspended for two months: it resumed on 27 March.
One major event cancelled was the 2020 “Macao International Environmental Co-operation Forum & Exhibition” (MIECF). MIECF had been scheduled for 26 to 28 March. The Macao SAR Government had held the event, for the environmental protection industry, every year since 2008. The Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute and the Environmental Protection Bureau are the official co-ordinators of MIECF.
Events postponed included the 8th Macao International Travel (Industry) Expo (MITE) and the “International Gastronomy Forum, Macao 2020”, both organised by MGTO and scheduled for April. The 8th MITE has been moved to 17 to 20 September and will be held at the Cotai Expo, The Venetian Macao.
The organisers of the UFI Asia-Pacific Conference 2020, originally scheduled to be held in Macao on 5 and 6 March, announced the postponement of the conference to 27 and 28 August. The event is put on by Union des Foires Internationales (UFI), a global association of the exhibition industry.
Global Gaming Expo Asia (G2E Asia) 2020, an international exhibition and conference dedicated to the Asian gaming-entertainment market, had been scheduled for May but was also postponed, to 1 to 3 December.
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) put back the IAAPA Expo Asia until next year. The expo was due to take place in Macao from 8 to 11 June. It will now be held in June next year, but no dates have been decided.
The 2020 “Script Road – Macau Literary Festival” was postponed to a date yet to be announced, said the organisers. The annual literary event had been scheduled for March.
The Cultural Affairs Bureau cancelled all its shows and other cultural activities scheduled for February, March, April and May. People already holding tickets can ask for a refund. Groups that receive subsidies from the Cultural Affairs Bureau were advised to postpone or cancel events scheduled for the near term.
The bureau moved to call off 2020 Macao Library Week and the Tap Siac Craft Market, and cancelled performances of “Matilda The Musical”. The eight performances of the musical created by the Royal Shakespeare Company were scheduled for 14 to 19 April at the Macao Cultural Centre Grand Auditorium.
The Cultural Affairs Bureau also cancelled this year’s edition of the Macao Arts Festival. It had been scheduled for May.
Beach music festival “HUSH!! Full Music” was postponed to a date to be confirmed. It had been scheduled for 30 April to 2 May.
All cultural facilities managed by the Cultural Affairs Bureau – including public libraries, museums, and venues for exhibitions and performances – were closed between 24 January and 1 March inclusive. Such facilities began reopening in stages from 2 March.
All museums run by other government bodies were also closed temporarily. They included the Maritime Museum, the Communications Museum and the Macao Science Center.
Among the high-profile sports events to be cancelled was the FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League Macao. The Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), volleyball’s governing body, called off the competition that was due to take place from 2 to 4 June at the Macao Forum.
For another major event in the calendar, the Macao SAR Government Sports Bureau will restrict foreign entrants from taking part in the Macao Dragon Boat Festival at Nam Van Lake on June 20, 21 and 25. However, the Wushu Masters Challenge contest was cancelled by the Sports Bureau.
All sports facilities run by the Sports Bureau were closed from 24 January until 1 March inclusive. Such facilities began reopening in stages from 2 March.
A celebration of environmental awareness and sustainability, Macao Green Week 2020 was postponed until June. The Municipal Affairs Bureau had scheduled the event for March, which was to include the mass planting of trees.
Several public facilities run by the Municipal Affairs Bureau also were temporarily closed. They included activity centres, exhibition venues, information centres, the Macao Giant Panda Pavilion and its related facilities, the Natural and Agrarian Museum, and the Macao Tea Culture House. Public parks and outdoor leisure areas were closed for part of February.
| Service suspended at some MGTO Tourist Information counters|
Operations at some Tourist Information counters promoted by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) have temporarily been suspended – until further notice – as part of measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The counters concerned are located at the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal and the Taipa Ferry Terminal.
The Tourist Information counters remaining open are located in the Border Gate building, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Frontier Post at Macao Port, Macau International Airport and at Ritz Building in Senado Square.