Apple’s head of retail Deidre O’Brien has posted a letter on the company’s website detailing how it plans to safely restart operations at its retail stores. Apple shut all of its stores outside Greater China in March as COVID-19 spread worldwide; all the Greater China stores reopened that same month, while Apple is still in the process of taking careful steps elsewhere.
“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 writes. “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 percent of Apple’s 510 stores worldwide remain closed, but the company plans to reopen 25 more stores in the US, 12 in Canada, and 10 in Italy over the next week, 9to5Mac reports. The degree of service offered will vary by store, O’Brien says. All stores will allow customers to make Genius Bar reservations and pick up items ordered online, but some will only offer storefront or curbside service rather than having customers enter the store itself.
For those stores that do open their doors, O’Brien says temperature checks will be conducted and all staff and customers will be required to wear face coverings. Apple will provide coverings to customers who don’t have their own, and will enforce social distancing rules with a limited number of people in the store at once. “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,” O’Brien writes.
Apple reopened a few US stores last week in Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska. CNBC reports that this week’s reopenings will be in Florida, Hawaii, Oklahoma and Colorado, with some California and Washington locations offering curbside service. Details of reopenings will be updated through Apple’s Find a Store search tool.