Deidre O’Brien, Senior Vice President of Retail for Apple, announced Monday that some of the company’s retail stores would reopen this week. In her statement, O’Brien outlined the measures Apple stores would take to ensure employee and customer safety.
A Cautious Reopening
In March, Apple closed all of its stores outside of China in response to the coronavirus pandemic. While stores within Greater China were granted leniency due to country’s strict isolation and testing measures, 80% of Apple’s worldwide locations (510 stores) remained closed for weeks.
But in the coming days, the tech giant will gradually resume in-person retail, reopening 25 stores in the US, 12 stores in Canada, and 10 stores in Italy. Additional branches will resume business once the threat of coronavirus has been sufficiently neutralized in their regions.
Within the United States, locations will reopen in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Oklahoma, and Washington. Some locations in Alabama, Idaho, and South Carolina already opened last week.
“Our commitment is to only move forward with a reopening once we’re confident we can safely return to serving customers from our stores,” O’Brien said of the move. “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.”
New Safety Measures
Services offered by each store will vary depending on location. Stores will emphasize use of the Genius Bar, a flagship service which assists in the repair of Apple devices. Customers can make a reservation for a Genius Bar consultation, and can drop off their device and return at a later time, decreasing the amount of people lingering inside any given store. Online order and pick-up will also be available at all locations.
Still, not every store will permit customer entrance. In-person shopping will depend on local regulations, and will vary by region. Locations in California and Washington are likely to keep doors closed to shoppers while resuming drop-off/pick-up services inside.
As for stores that are allowing in-person shopping, Apple is instituting heightened safety measures. All employees and customers will be required to wear a mask, and complimentary facial coverings will be offered for any guest who lacks one. Stores will also conduct temperature checks for customers upon arrival, to ensure the good health of anyone who wishes to enter. Finally, physical-distancing measures will limit the number of customers allowed in the store at a time, and all individuals will be obligated to maintain at least six feet of distance from one another.