Deidre O’Brien, head of retail for Apple, has written a letter on the company’s website outlining how the company plans to resume its store activities safely. In March Apple shut down all stores in China as COVID-19 spread around the world: all stores in China reopened the same month, with Apple also taking prudent measures elsewhere. Apple shuts all stores outside China.
“Our commitment is to only move forward with a reopening once we’re confident we can safely return to serving customers from our stores,” writes O’Brien. “We look at every available piece of data — including local cases, near and long‑term trends, and guidance from national and local health officials. These are not decisions we rush into — and a store opening in no way means that we won’t take the preventative step of closing it again should local conditions warrant.”
More than 80% of the 510 stores worldwide of Apple remain shut, but over the next week the company is expected to reopen another 25 stores in the US, 12 in Canada and 10 in Italy, 9to5Mac reports. O’Brien notes that the quality of support will vary by store. All shops will allow clients to request Genius Bar reservations and pick up products online, but some are only providing shopping or curbside service instead of letting customers go into the store itself.
O’Brien notes that temperature checks are performed for the businesses that open their doors, and that all staff and consumers must wear face covers. Apple will provide masks for customers who did not bring their own and rules on social distancing and maximum people capacity will apply. “In every store, we’re focused on limiting occupancy and giving everybody lots of room, and renewing our focus on one‑on‑one, personalized service at the Genius Bar and throughout the store,” says O’Brien.
In Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama and Alaska, Apple reopened a handful of the US stores last week. CNBC is saying that the stores will open this week in Texas, Hawaii, Oklahoma and Colorado, providing curbside service in several areas in California and Washington. Reopening details will be updated by Apple’s search tool “Find a store.”