The border with mainland China has been effectively shut since late March.
The measure was well received by local casino opertors, whose shares experienced a significant rise. Wynn Macau reported a 7% up in Tuesday late morning trade while MGM China climbed 5%. The stocks are, however, still down 25% and 21% respectively for the year to date.
Some analysts were upbeat about recovery prospects. “We expect demand from Guangdong can recover quickly to 70% of normal levels, assuming visas resume reasonably soon,” said DS Kim, an analyst at JPMorgan in Hong Kong said.
But Vitaly Umansky, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, noted hurdles to movement into and out of Macau remain. “Individuals coming to Macau from outside of Guangdong would face difficulties in travel as they would likely need to stay in Guangdong for two weeks prior to traveling home, which will severely restrict visitation,” he said.
Visitors must also still test negative for the coronavirus in the previous seven days when entering casinos and must hold green health codes for Macau and Guangdong.
The loosening of restrictions for Guangdong, which accounts for close to 50% of Chinese visitation into Macau, comes as nearby Hong Kong imposes new strict measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Macau has not had a new local coronavirus case for over 100 days and all its 45 COVID-19 patients have been released from hospital. In comparison, Hong Kong has seen a sharp spike in the number of cases. Ferry services between Hong Kong and Macau remain halted.