Apple closing all Apple Stores outside China through March 27

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In an unprecedented move, Apple has announced that it is temporarily closing all Apple Stores outside Greater China in an effort to battle the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The stores will remain closed through March 27.

Tim Cook shared Apple’s decision in an open letter-style press release titled “Apple’s COVID-19 response.” He wrote that, “This global effort — to protect the most vulnerable, to study this virus, and to care for the sick — requires all of our care, and all of our participation.”

In place of visiting the Apple Store, Cook suggests users visit the Apple Online Store. For service and support, customers can check out support.apple.com.

Apple Store response to COVID-19

Apple has gradually been temporarily shuttering retail stores as the COVID-19 novel coronavirus spreads. The company Friday closed its 11 retail stores in Spain. This followed closures of 17 stores throughout Italy on Wednesday.

Apple also canceled ‘Today at Apple’ sessions at stores in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Brazil late this week. On Friday, reports circulated that an Apple Store employee at Apple’s Santa Monica, California store had tested positive for COVID-19.

The first country to experience Apple Store closures was China, where the COVID-19 outbreak originated. All 42 stores in China re-opened this past week after being closed since last month.

In his note, Tim Cook wrote that:

“I want to recognize Apple’s family in Greater China. Though the rate of infections has dramatically declined, we know COVID-19’s effects are still being strongly felt. I want to express my deep gratitude to our team in China for their determination and spirit.”

Apple is taking other precautions

Tim Cook touches on several other points in his open letter. He noted that Apple has committed $15 million worldwide to battle coronavirus worldwide. Apple is also implementing an employee charity matching scheme. Apple will donate $2 for every $1 donated by employees to support COVID-19 response efforts.

Tim Cook additionally wrote that Apple is carrying out deep cleaning at all its offices. It is also introducing new health screenings and temperature checks at offices. Employees are recommended to work remotely where possible.

Apple is also changing its leave policies to accommodate people being in quarantine, caring for sick loved ones, or dealing with the effects of school closures.

Words of wisdom in a time of need

“There is no mistaking the challenge of this moment,” Cook wrote. “The entire Apple family is indebted to the heroic first responders, doctors, nurses, researchers, public health experts and public servants globally who have given every ounce of their spirit to help the world meet this moment. We do not yet know with certainty when the greatest risk will be behind us.

And yet I have been inspired by the humanity and determination I have seen from all corners of our global community. As President Lincoln said in a time of great adversity: ‘The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.’
That’s always how Apple has chosen to meet big challenges. And it’s how we’ll rise to meet this one, too.”

Source: Apple

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