Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said during a Q&A session in the legislature’s hemicycle Tuesday afternoon that the government has decided to go ahead with the Macau Grand Prix (MGP) this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic because it already decided last year to hold the annual motor-racing event in 2020 and signed agreements with the relevant contractors at that time. Ho said that if the government had decided to cancel this year’s Macau Grand Prix, it would have needed to pay “a lot” of money in compensation.
Ho said that therefore the government has decided to continue with this year’s Macau Grand Prix – despite “many” residents opposing it – also with the aim of promoting Macao’s image as a safe tourist destination free from COVID-19. The 67th Macau Grand Prix will be held from Friday to Sunday.
Macao has not confirmed a new COVID-19 case for 144 days. The number of confirmed cases stands at 46, 44 of which have been classified as imported cases by the Health Bureau (SSM). No novel coronavirus fatalities have been reported in Macao.
Ho pointed out that organising a major sports event is a task that has to start at least six months or a year in advance, rather than one month or two weeks, adding that therefore the government already needs to decide whether to hold the Macau Grand Prix next year.
Ho said that the government already needs to plan all major sports events for next year, but it is now facing a dilemma as for the time being it doesn’t know the development of the COVID-19 pandemic next year.
Ho said that if the Macau Grand Prix is not held next year, there would be one element less attracting tourists at that time.
The chief executive admitted that whether or not to hold Macao’s major sporting events such as the Grand Prix next year is giving him a headache.