As soon as he returned from vacations earlier this year, Bruno Simões was ‘run over’ by the bad news: his Macau event companies were ‘infected’ by the tourist industry shut down and he had lost all contracts until April.
With the closing of casinos in the world capital of gambling, with the paralysis of the economy and with the Chinese tourist market ‘contaminated’ by the coronavirus Covid-19, “the situation is dramatic”, he said. “Even in Vietnam they canceled things for April,” he told Lusa.
Like the Macau government, which sent students and civil servants home to work remotely, Bruno Simões was forced to take exceptional measures at DOC DMC and SmallWORLD Experience.
“People had to be sent home by April and we negotiated a month of unpaid leave with the employees, with the hope that things will get better in March,” he explained.
With an office also in the neighboring Chinese city of Zhuhai, in a province that has been one of the most affected by the outbreak in the number of infected people, the business lives a lot on the multinationals that work in Asia. Each year they organized about two hundred events.
Now, without jobs, without conferences, without events and with fixed monthly charges in the order of MOP300,000, the hope is that in April or May “the companies, which have their calendars and have to execute them” manage to return some oxygen to the industry.
Until then, precisely to assist small and medium-sized companies such as those managed by the Portuguese, the Government of Macau announced on Thursday tax benefits and subsidized loans, as well as financial and social support for the population in the amount of MOP20 billion.
To Lusa, legislator Sulu Sou underlined to defend that “due to the monopoly of the gambling industry, the Government has the responsibility to support small and medium-sized companies, mainly because of the epidemic”, making, for example, the conditions of loans more flexible without interest, namely at the level of the upper limits of the amounts to be granted.
On the other hand, he suggested the creation of an anti-epidemic fund of more than RMB10 billion to directly subsidize SME leases and wages during the period of economic, financial and social impact due to the outbreak.
Like a snowball, the closure of casinos and hotels (27), the suspension of maritime connections, border restrictions, flight cancellations and fears associated with the risk of contagion have profoundly undermined the economy and have practically put a dent in the economy and virtually placed several multinationals and local businesses under quarantine.
“The sector of corporate events is very quick to react”, for better or for worse, stressed Bruno Simões. “The companies do not send their employees to the events and the guests do not come either”, he stressed, to conclude: “Fear is the worst there is”.
The recovery “is going to happen, but at what pace we do not know”, he said, showing his apprehension with some more recent news in the sector.
Meanwhile, and even outside Asia, the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the largest mobile telecommunications fair, which was scheduled to start on the 24th in Barcelona, was canceled precisely because of the successive withdrawals of the participants due to the fear associated with the coronavirus.
And in Macau, for example, the holding of the Global Gaming Expo Asia (G2E Asia), the largest gaming event on the Asian continent, which brings together operators, players and entrepreneurs linked to the sector, scheduled for May, is dependent on the evolution of the outbreak.