Apple Will Reopen Some Stores in US
Apple is preparing to reopen stores in the United States, nearly two months after the COVID-19 pandemic drove the company to announce closures.
The company said in a statement to CNBC on Friday that it will reopen some retail outlets next week in a clutch of states—Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska.
“We’ve missed our customers and look forward to offering our support,” a company spokesperson told CNN Business in a statement,ding that the first store to open will be in Boise, Idaho, on Monday.
Apple will be implementing enhanced safety protocols at the stores, including limiting the number of customers allowed on premises at one time to ensure social distancing norms are observed, as well as health checks for staff and masks for customers.
Luca Maestri, Apple’s chief financial officer, told the Financial Times last week that the company remains focused on the walk-in customer experience, saying, “storefronts are still key.”
The company shuttered all of its stores outside China on March 14 due to the outbreak of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, the novel coronavirus that emerged from China late last year and causes the disease COVID-19.
“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,” Apple said a day before announcing it would be shuttering all its U.S. stores.
Apple CEO Tim Cook told Bloomberg in an interview on April 30 that the company plans to reopen retail stores in Austria and Australia in coming weeks,ding that he expects “just a few, not a large number” of U.S. stores to reopen in the first half of May.
Cook also told Bloomberg that Apple is “going to look at the data and make a decision city by city, county by county, depending on the circumstances in that particular place.”
Meanwhile, on Thursday Apple announced it would be donating $10 million to a company that develops sample collection kits that play a key role in COVID-19 testing.
Apple’s chief operating officer Jeff Williams said, “We feel a deep sense of responsibility to do everything we can to help medical workers, patients, and communities support the global response to COVID-19.”
Contributions include developing and distributing nearly 10 million face shields and sourcing over 30 million masks to healthcare professionals on the front lines of the fight against the deadly bug.