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Heading to Marina Bay Sands? Expect a letter from management about the coronavirus. (Image: Jakarta Post)
Over the past several days, visitors to the Marina Bay Sands (MBS), the LVS venue on the city-state and one of the world’s most famous integrated resorts, received correspondence from Vice President of Hotel Operations Pek Chin Song detailing what management is doing to prevent the spread of the deadly illness.
As of Tuesday, there were five confirmed coronavirus cases in Singapore. Amplifying concerns about the possible spread of the illness, there are reports that earlier this week, a group of 1,000 preschoolers, their parents, and 500 to 600 teachers returned to Singapore from China.
We would like to inform you that the Ministry of Health has just announced that the latest Wuhan coronavirus case in Singapore has been tracked to a guest who previously stayed at Marina Bay Sands 23-24 January 2020,” according to Song’s letter dated Jan. 28.
In response to that situation, the operator has closed off the room of that guest and the quarters where his traveling companion stayed. MBS staff that had contact with the two guests have been placed on a “precautionary leave of absence.” The letter didn’t say if the guests were Chinese nationals.
Since Jan. 22, the day the first confirmed case of the Wuhan virus was reported in Macau, MBS has implemented new protocols, including hourly cleanings and disinfections of heavily trafficked areas at the property, and making hand sanitizer and surgical masks available to guests.
To this point, Singapore’s coronavirus experience hasn’t been nearly as severe as China’s. But the city-state’s politicians are warning that the epidemic will pinch the economy this year. That after GDP there rose by just 0.7 percent in 2019.
Chinese nationals account for the largest demographic of visitors to Singapore, and if visits from the world’s largest country dramatically decline or are cut off altogether, that could weigh on LVS and Resorts World, operators of the city-state’s two integrated resorts.
Amid severe travel bans and visa restrictions, LVS and rival Macau operators are already being pinched there. For Sands, the situation in Asia is potentially sensitive because after Macau, Singapore is the company’s most important market.
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Starting last night, MBS began “progressively deploying” temperature-gauging machines, a strategy used by gaming properties in Macau. They are located throughout the casino and hotel in an effort to identify guests and visitors showing early stage coronavirus symptoms.
Some of the other tips offered up by management for avoiding the illness are more practical.
“You are advised to adopt good personal hygiene practices and monitor your health closely,” said Song in the letter.
The executive also asks guests that have traveled to regions of China affected by the virus to immediately contact hotel staff.