NEWS: 05.20.20 – In the midst of a global pandemic, after its retail outlets were shuttered temporarily in mid-March as a mitigation measure enacted by Apple during the peak of the spread of COVID-19 (also known as the novel coronavirus), the Cupertino, California-based company has started to slowly phase in the reopening of its brick and mortar stores worldwide as lockdowns and shelter-in-place restrictions begin to ease globally.
In an official statement published on the company’s website earlier this week in the form of a personally written letter addressed to its customers, Apple senior Vice President of retail + people, Deirdre O’Brien, informed the general public that the handful of its brick and mortar stores — which since have reopened in a limited fashion — will notice a different look and feel while COVID-19 is still, and continues to be, a prevalent concern and threat to people who choose to shop in person. Notable was how it planned to ensure the well-being of all stakeholders from visitors to its team members and the way it would carry that forward by always, first and foremost, putting the health and safety of everyone involved above all else.
“Since we first began responding and adapting to COVID-19 in January, Apple has let care drive our decision making: care for our teams, care for our customers, and care for our communities,” wrote O’Brien.
“That has meant being there for our customers as they depend on our products…, to stay connected as we have stayed apart…, and to stay healthy at a time when health is so front of mind. It’s also meant stepping up in new ways to support the public health response…. And it meant taking the unprecedented step to close nearly all of our retail stores worldwide to protect the health and well-being of our customers and teams.”
O’Brien detailed how Apple is carrying forward its commitment to care, from how the manner of day-to-day business at its retail outlets will change from the usual way things used to be done in the past to the significant steps its taking to keep safe everyone who visits one of its brick and mortar stores through the following newly established mitigation measures currently in place:
- limited occupancy inside the store with ample space and room for all customers and visitors
- a renewed focus on one-on-one personalized service at both the Genius Bar and throughout the store venue
- face coverings will be required for all team members which also will apply to any customers and visitors who enter the store (one will be provided by Apple if a person does not have one on)
- temperature checks of all customers and visitors will be conducted at the door before patrons can enter the store venue
- all customers and visitors to the store will be screened and asked a series of health questions related to COVID-19
- deep cleaning procedures for all products on display, surfaces, and high traffic areas will be performed inside the store venue throughout the entire day
- introduction of a curbside pickup option available for customers who place an online order at apple.com
According to the Apple senior Vice President of retail + people,, as of May 17, nearly 100 of the company’s brick and mortar stores globally have been able to reopen to customers.
As far as reopening is concerned for those locations that currently remain closed, O’Brien outlined the company’s approach and indicated that it is committed to moving forward only if there is complete confidence that it can return to safely serving its customers which will be done through the examination of data, from local cases and trends of COVID-19 — such as infection and death rates — to guidance from public health officials nationally and locally. Furthermore, the Apple senior Vice President of retail + people noted that an opening in no way means that future store closures won’t be put back in place as a preventative measure like that of which was originally done back in March during the peak of the global pandemic.
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An official company spokesperson who was interviewed by the website TechCrunch told the technology news-oriented media outlet that Apple plans to continue a gradual reopening of its brick and mortar stores in the U.S. and will add more than 25 locations in seven states come next week.
“While we know many customers are eager for their local store to reopen, our commitment is to reopen our stores when we are confident the environment is safe. We miss our customers and look forward to seeing them again soon,” the company spokesperson said.
A Note from the Author: the image featured herein was procured from and courtesy of the website TechCrunch (which originally did not credit its photo) via the same article cited within, used as complementary source material for this story.