NEWS: 03.18.20- In response to the global pandemic surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19), amid many preventative measures enacted in cities and states across the U.S. designed to curb the further spread of the virus nationally, Apple temporarily has closed and ceased day to day business in all of its retail stores across the nation.
Last Friday, on March 13, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued an official statement regarding the company’s response to the Coronavirus. Addressed to the worldwide Apple family, Cook said that the global spread of COVID-19 is affecting every one of us and that it wants to continue to play a role in helping individuals and communities emerge stronger. In addition, the chief executive officer said this effort — to protect the most vulnerable, to study this virus, and to care for the sick — requires all of our care and participation and he wanted to update customers on the ways it was doing its part to help.
The following is a direct excerpt from Cook’s statement which Apple released on its website last Friday:
“We will be closing all of our retail stores outside of greater China until March 27. We are committed to providing exceptional service to our customers. Our online stores are open at www.apple.com or you can download the Apple Store app on the App Store. For service and support, customers can visit support.apple.com.”
The closures, which affect all 272 Apple retail stores in the U.S., are part of Apple’s steps to protect its team members and customers as rates of new infections continue to grow. Cook referenced the lessons that were learned in greater China which have helped assist in the company’s global response to the coronavirus. According to the Apple CEO, one of those lessons was that the most effective way to minimize the risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distancing.
These temporary measures from Apple came only days in advance of the response nationwide this past Monday in such places like the San Francisco Bay Area where local officials enacted a mandatory order to shelter in place that went into effect on midnight (and lasts through April 7) which prevented residents in six of its counties from leaving their homes for anything other than travel for essential business (e.g., grocery shopping). Among the cities included in the restrictions is the city of Cupertino — where the company’s headquarters, Apple Park, calls home — located in the county of Santa Clara, a COVID-19 hotspot where 138 cases of the coronavirus have been reported to-date (*), the highest number in California, making it the epicenter of the virus in the entire state.
Prior to the two week closure of all Apple retail stores in the U.S. (and worldwide in countries outside of China), the company also had enacted other preventative measures to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Earlier this month, the business and financial news site, Bloomberg, reported that Apple had encouraged its Silicon Valley employees to work from home (including the restriction of travel to countries like China, South Korea, and Italy), as an additional precaution against the outbreak of coronavirus. In addition, the company had started to limit “Today at Apple” sessions — eventually canceling them altogether (according to the website iDrop News) — at its retail stores in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the surrounding region. Furthermore, appointments at the Genius Bar had been spaced out so that customers wouldn’t be as close to each other.
For more information regarding the temporary closure of all Apple retail stores in the U.S. (including countries outside of China), the company has provided a frequently asked questions (FAQs) page on its website.
A Note from the Author: *due to the fluid nature of the rate of COVID-19 infections, the numbers reported in this article may have changed by the time the story was published on this site.