Six food and beverage outlets in the SOHO food district, City of Dreams (CoD) have been closed down. The news, released by a Chinese newspaper in Hong Kong was confirmed to Business Daily by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO).
Sources close to CoD explained to Business Daily that the restaurants now closed are Shelter Café, Starz Kitchen, Asia Kitchen and Chan Kee, all related to Shelter Group plus Gold Coast Oyster and Seafood, which belongs to Seapower, and Taiwanese franchise Din tai Fung.
“MGTO gave the restaurants two years to deliver the appropriate documents, but that didn’t happen”, this newspaper was told by the source. Ergo, the government department has started to close down the restaurants and cafés, one by one. “And more might close in the coming weeks”, the same source reveals.
Meanwhile, MGTO’s director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes told TDM Chinese Radio that eight restaurants were penalised and 13 more are undergoing evaluation.
MGTO told Business Daily that licence applications for restaurants and bars in the SOHO zone of the City of Dreams will depend upon the outcome of applications made by the hotel operator for the re-arrangement of its hotels’ facilities.
According to MGTO, the SOHO zone is within the plan of re-arrangement, which also involves the 5-star Crown Towers, 4-star Hard Rock Hotel as well as casinos in City of Dreams.
‘The applicant is still following up on the relative re-arrangement of facilities,’ said MGTO in an email to Business Daily.
MGTO revealed that several restaurants and bars in the SOHO zone were operating despite the related licence not being obtained prior operation, a practice that “is not new”, says an F&B veteran. “Some other restaurants have been operating without a licence, outside and inside entertainment resorts without being closed down”, confides the source.
According to Hong Kong news outlet Apple Daily, these businesses have been operating without a licence since 2014.
Apple Daily reported that until recently the licence application of these businesses had been turned down and hence the closedown ordered by MGTO.
Pursuant to the law, MGTO has had to forcibly close down these businesses and penalise with a fine of MOP600,000.
The tourism office added that necessary procedures including hearings will also be performed once penalisation procedures have been completed.
‘Currently, some [businesses] are still undergoing penalisation procedures’, stated MGTO.
Meanwhile, in response to Business Daily enquiries, Melco Resorts & Entertainment would ‘not comment publicly on government licensing processes and procedures; however, the Company and our restaurant operators are closely working with the relevant authorities on these matters.# *With Alex Lee