As of Monday February 27th, wearing a mask outdoors is no longer required in Macao. The day before, the Macao’s Response Coordination Center stated that the epidemic situation has remained stable in the past two months. The Response Coordination Center pointed out, however, that people who enter medical institutions, the elderly and rehabilitation homes (except inpatients or service users living in homes), drivers and passengers of public transportation (except taxis) must continue to wear masks.
For other indoor places and means of transportation, the competent entity shall evaluate and decide whether to require entry into the place or means of transportation based on factors such as the current epidemic situation, the air circulation in the place or means of transportation, the number and density of people, the nature and duration of activities, etc. People who take the transportation should wear masks; if masks are required, they should be announced or notified in an appropriate way.
Under certain circumstances, such as large-scale gatherings, cluster infections in nurseries and non-higher education institutions, the organizer or competent entity should require personnel entering the relevant places to wear masks; masks should also be worn when flu-like symptoms such as fever, myalgia, sore throat, cough or runny nose occur; as for infants and young children under 3 years old, they do not need to wear masks when entering any place.
The epidemic situation in Macao has continuously remained stable over the last two months.Macao’s Government
Meanwhile, Hong Kong extended its mask requirement until March 8th, as reported by Reuters. Hong Kong is one of the last places globally that still imposes a mask mandate though authorities have noted this might change in the short term.
On January 8th, China finally abandoned its zero-Covid policy, opening its borders to international travel after almost three years. While some requirements still apply for the rest of the world, as of today, travel between the mainland and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao is due to fully resume.
Travelers are no longer required to present a negative test taken within 48 hours before their trip, as long as they did not travel abroad in the 7 previous days. Moreover, daily quotas are being scrapped. Until today, people who wished to travel from the two regions to the mainland had to register on an online platform, that capped the number of daily visitors to China. Group tours are also allowed to resume.
Customs checkpoints between China and the two territories are being reopened. “In order to ensure the safety, order and smoothness of customs clearance and cross-border passenger transport and to further improve the experience of personnel exchanges, the port inspection department and cross-border passenger transport operators have strengthened organization, coordination and dynamic scheduling, so that the ports adjacent to Hong Kong and Macao in the mainland should be opened as much as possible”, read a joint statement from the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Offices.
Authorities in Macao and Hong Kong have been working to deepen their tourism cooperation. In early February, the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) invited over 100 Hong Kong tourism industry leaders to visit Macao for a two-day familiarization program. The delegation consisted of government officials, tourism sector representatives, and members of the media. During their visit, the delegates participated in a work meeting, a Macao & Hengqin destination presentation, and a Hong Kong & Macao travel trade networking seminar.
MGTO Director Helena de Senna Fernandes stated that with easing of Macao’s pandemic border measures, the sea and land transportation services between Hong Kong and Macao are steadily resuming operation. Visitor arrivals from Hong Kong have been considerably rising in recent days. MGTO has vigorously geared up for promotional initiatives tailored for Hong Kong as a visitor source market, including the latest special offer on transportation, and arrangement for KOLs to visit and spotlight Macao on social media.
Fernandes indicated that the travel trade networking seminar briefed Hong Kong’s travel trade on Macao’s latest tourism resources. Macao and Hong Kong travel agencies were encouraged to forge partnerships, launch new travel products and special offers. All of these will boost mutual visitations, open up new possibilities for business cooperation and bolster the tourism industry towards recovery in Hong Kong and Macao.