Apple Reopens Stores in China, Shuts All Others Until 27 March

Apple says it has learned from steps taken in China to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Tech News
2 min read
An Apple store in China.

Apple has opened all 42 retail stores in China after the novel coronavirus situation improved in that country. However, the Cupertino-based iPhone maker has now announced plans to shut all its stores outside China until 27 March in a bid to slow the spread of the new coronavirus outbreak.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the firm had learned from steps taken in China, where the tech giant has just reopened its retail stores.

“One of those lessons is that the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance,” he said in a statement.

“As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we’re taking additional steps to protect our team members and customers,” Cook said.

A US retail store at Willow Grove Park in Pennsylvania has also been closed on orders from the state's governor, reports Apple Insider. Pennsylvania has shut down schools, community centres, gyms and entertainment venues in Montgomery County for two weeks.

“According to Apple’s regional website, each of the company’s 11 branded brick-and-mortar stores in Spain will be closed effective Saturday, 14 March. The stores will remain closed until further notice,” the report mentioned.

"Due to current health precautions, this store will remain closed until further notice. If you need online support, visit Sorry for the inconvenience," read a message posted on each store's landing page in Spain.

Apple has shut down retail operations in Italy too that is bearing the maximum brunt after China, reporting 17,660 cases with 1,266 deaths.

Italy was followed by Spain (4,231 cases, 120 deaths), France (3,661 cases, 79 deaths) and Germany (3,062 cases, eight deaths).

Globally there were 141,467 cases and 5,399 deaths. This figure also includes China.

"As we support the work to contain and manage the spread of COVID-19, our priority remains the health and safety of everyone in the communities we serve. With that in mind, our stores in Italy will be closed until further notice," Apple said in a statement.

Apple on Friday announced it will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June but digital-only owing to coronavirus pandemic.

Now in its 31st year, Apple WWDC 2020 will take on an entirely new online format packed with content for consumers, press and developers alike.

"The current health situation has required that we create a new WWDC 2020 format that delivers a full programme with an online keynote and sessions, offering a great learning experience for our entire developer community, all around the world. We will be sharing all of the details in the weeks ahead," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

As the novel coronavirus situation improves in mainland China, Apple this week reopened all its 42 retail stores in the country.

The tech giant had closed all retail stores in the country from 1 February based on the advice from leading health experts. It aimed to reopen stores on 9 February, but that date ended up being extended in China.

(With inputs from PTI & IANS)

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