Hospitality Ireland presents an overview of the world news of the places of reception.
UK says COVID outbreak ‘extremely difficult’ as Omicron takes over Europe
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, December 20 that he would tighten restrictions on coronaviruses to slow the spread of the Omicron variant if needed, after the Netherlands began a fourth lockdown and as other European countries are considering Christmas restrictions.
Speaking after British media reported Britain may impose further restrictions after Christmas, Johnson said the situation was “extremely difficult” and hospitalizations were rising sharply in London.
“I have to tell the British public, and I say to everyone, we will not rule out the possibility of going further if we have to do things to protect the public,” Johnson said after a cabinet meeting.
Omicron infections are growing rapidly in Europe and the United States, doubling every two to three days in London and elsewhere and taking a heavy toll on financial markets, which fear the impact on the global economic recovery.
The variant was first detected last month in southern Africa and Hong Kong and has so far been reported in at least 89 countries. The severity of the disease it causes remains unclear.
Any limit on Christmas celebrations would come at a high political cost to Johnson, already under fire from reports that he and his staff broke lockdown rules last year.
Asked about speculation the government would ban indoor socialization and limit tourism, Johnson said, “We’re looking at all kinds of stuffâ¦ we’re not ruling anything out.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the closure on Saturday, December 18, ordering all except essential stores, as well as restaurants, hairdressers, gymnasiums, museums and other public places to close until at least January 14.
Germany plans to limit private gatherings on December 28 to a maximum of 10 people who have been vaccinated or cured of COVID-19, according to a draft of the proposed measures. The document also said that access to restaurants would remain limited to people who can provide proof of vaccination or recovery.
Ireland ordered bars and restaurants to close at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 17, and cut the capacity of all public events. Italy is also considering new measures, newspapers reported on Sunday (December 19th).
Coronavirus cases increased in New York and the United States over the weekend, dashing hopes for a more normal holiday season and stretching the country’s testing infrastructure days before Christmas.
In Washington DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city will reinstate an indoor mask mandate from Tuesday, December 21, until the morning of January 31. All District of Columbia government employees, contractors and beneficiaries must be fully vaccinated against COVID and have a booster, she said.
In Geneva, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that Omicron spreads the Delta variant faster and causes infections in people who have already been vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID- 19.
China, where the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was first detected in late 2019, needs to be more open with information on its origin, Tedros said. “We have to keep going until we know the origins. We have to push harder because we have to learn from what happened this time around in order to (do) better in the future.”
WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said it was too early to conclude that Omicron is milder than previous versions of the virus, adding that it could still make enough people sick to ‘overload’ health systems.
Many monoclonal drugs “won’t work with Omicron,” she said of the infused therapy used to reduce the severity of illness in COVID-19 patients.
Monoclonal antibody drugs provide lab-made versions of the body’s natural antibodies to fight infection, while vaccines cause the body to make its own antibodies and develop its own immunity.
Major Wall Street indices opened lower on Monday, December 21, dragged down by concerns about the impact of tightening COVID-19 restrictions on the global economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 500 points, or nearly 1.5% in afternoon trading on Monday, December 20.
European stocks lost 1.33%. The number of shoppers on UK shopping streets fell 2.6% over the weekend of December 18-19 from the previous weekend, researcher Springboard said.
Last week, the European Central Bank cut its euro area growth forecast for next year to 4.2% from 4.6% previously, citing the pandemic among the “headwinds”.
ECB President Christine Lagarde has said that even if economies learn to adjust to life with COVID-19, tougher restrictions could delay the recovery.
Israel has added the United States to its no-fly list, citing concerns about the Omicron variant. US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said Omicron was “raging around the world” as he urged Americans to get vaccinated.
Booster shots, in addition to two-shot vaccinations, appear to be essential in controlling the variant. Moderna Inc said that a booster dose of its vaccine appeared to protect against Omicron in lab tests, and that the current version of the vaccine would remain Moderna’s âfirst line of defenseâ.
More than 274 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide since the start of the pandemic. More than 5.65 million people have died.
The World Economic Forum postponed its annual meeting in Davos on Monday, December 21, due to the spread of Omicron, postponing the event scheduled for January until mid-2022.
Global Coronavirus Spread Interactive Chart: Open https://tmsnrt.rs/2FThSv7 in an external browser.
Eikon users can click https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1063154666 for case tracking.
Macau casinos put their hopes on everyday gamblers after Junket shutdowns
Macau casinos face grim short-term prospects after closing most of their lucrative gambling halls aimed at high net worth gamblers and as COVID-19 travel restrictions prevent passage to the mass market customers they will depend on. in the future.
The former Portuguese colony which is the world’s largest gambling hub in terms of money wagered has long relied on the income of VIP gambling halls where the big guys have placed massive bets.
But the Chinese government’s recent crackdown on the junk food trade, which organized the transportation, accommodation and credit needed to gamble for high net worth customers, calls into question the financial prospects of casino operators like Wynn Macau, Sands China and MGM. China.
Game rooms run by Junket inside casinos accounted for around a third of Macau’s overall gaming revenue in 2019, according to Alidad Tash, managing director of 2NT8 Limited, a consulting firm specializing in international casinos and resorts. integrated.
However, those revenues dried up after the November arrest of Alvin Chau, the head of Macau’s largest junket operator, Suncity, which triggered the closure of gambling halls at all of the city’s casinos. Chau is accused of setting up a Macau-based internet platform that allows punters in mainland China, where gambling is illegal, to place bets abroad.
Replacing VIP revenue will depend on the casinos’ ability to attract mass market players which Bernstein analysts say is the “secular long-term growth story” for the industry, but that depends on how COVID is controlled -19.
“The pace of the recovery in late 2021 and 2022 hinges on COVID outbreaks, diminishing travel restrictions, and the key to the recovery is to bring mass gamers in Macau back to more normal levels,” analysts said. in a note.
“The future remains in mass and premium mass recovery.”
Mass refers to family players who play table games, such as baccarat or blackjack, or slot machines. The premium pool includes players who bet large enough amounts to win free rooms, food, and transportation, but neither have their losses discounted nor receive credit from casinos.
Representatives for Wynn Macau, Sands China and MGM China did not respond to requests for comment on their plans to replace VIP income when contacted by Reuters.
Since Chau’s arrest, shares of Wynn Macau have fallen by about 23%, Sands China has fallen by about 13%, and MGM China has fallen by 20%.
Suncity could not be reached for comment.
China’s strict restrictions on movement linked to COVID-19 have limited the pool of players from the mainland who can enter Macau. During the pre-COVID month of October 2019, 3.2 million visitors entered Macau, in October 2021 which plunged to 328,245 visitors.
Tours remain depressed even though travel without quarantine is allowed for most arrivals from mainland China.
Group visas for players have not been issued since the COVID-19 pandemic and individual visas for Macau have come under further scrutiny, according to Ben Lee, founder of the gaming consultancy firm of. Macau IGamiX.
There are also concerns about how Macau players will be able to bring funds to the region.
Junkets, in addition to extending credit to big players, also operated a shadow banking network that helped players bypass China’s outflow rules that limit the withdrawal of the equivalent of $ 50,000 from the country. in one year.
Mass premium and direct premium players, who bet enough to get discounts on their losses and receive credits from the casinos, have also used these methods to move funds.
But with the junkets closing, players have lost the most convenient channel to bring money to Macau, 2NT8’s Tash said.
Bigger fries on menu as McDonald’s in Japan faces supply crisis
McDonald’s Holdings Company Japan announced Tuesday, December 20, that it will suspend the sale of medium and large fries for a week from Friday due to supply chain bottlenecks.
The company is seeing delays in potato shipments due to supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as shipping disruptions to Canada. The potatoes used for French fries are imported from North America, he said.
The famous fast food company said the small fries will continue to be on sale.
The company has not quantified the financial impact of the temporary suspension.
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