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As the lockdown and shelter-in-place restrictions that have been in effect in many places for the past few weeks begin to lift, Apple has already been slowly reopening its stores around the world, with Australian and some European stores resuming operations earlier this month, along with the promise from CEO Tim Cook that ‘a few’ would be reopening in the U.S. soon.
Although it falls far shy of the 271 retail locations that Apple operates in the United States, Apple has announced that it plans to reopen some 25 of its stores in the U.S. this week, along with 12 in Canada.
According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, this will include stores in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oklahoma, and Washington state. Gurman didn’t comment on which stores in Canada would be re-opening, but so far the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, where over half of the company’s 29 Canadian stores are located, have yet to fully lift lockdown restrictions for retail stores, although it looks like it includes all of those located in British Columbia, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia.
What to Expect
Apple’s Senior VP of Retail and People, Deirdre O’Brien, penned a letter to customers yesterday outlining exactly what’s going to be happening as Apple’s Stores reopen across North America, emphasizing that not only will the company be continuing to limit occupancy and conduct health checks at the entrance, but that it won’t hesitate to shut a store down again if necessary.
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.Deirdre O’Brien, Apple SVP of Retail and People
O’Brien adds that the stores are going to “look and feel a little different” during this crisis, noting that customers can expect to find themselves with “plenty of space,” as maximum occupancy will be limited to preserve social distancing, and in some stores Apple will be going even further and limiting customers to curb-side pickup and drop-off except in those cases where a customer must enter the store, such as for a Genius Bar appointment. Apple is of course still encouraging customers to order products online and simply take advantage of in-store or curb-side pickup if they’d prefer that to having them shipped.
If you plan to visit an Apple Store in the near future, you’re also going to need to wear a mask, whether you want to or not — you won’t be allowed into an Apple Store without one, although Apple will be happy to provide “face coverings” for those who don’t bring their own.
As time has gone on, we’ve continued to refine and expand our in?store health and safety measures, which have proven so effective in places like Greater China, where our stores have been safely open for months.Deirdre O’Brien, Apple SVP of Retail and People
As Apple has been doing in all of its stores since its first reopening in South Korea last month, temperature checks will be conducted at the door, along with posted health questions to screen for those with any symptoms or other high risks, such as recent exposure to someone infected with COVID-19. There will also naturally be regular “enhanced deep cleanings” of all surfaces, display products, and highly trafficked areas.
Apple has updated its retail store listings on its website to include those that are scheduled to reopen this week, so you can use the Find a Store link to find out if the store in your area will be opening soon. Many will still have reduced hours, and Apple may be staggering the reopening of stores in certain locations. This is also only the first phase, and it’s likely Apple will add more stores to the list next week as lockdown restrictions are further relaxed in various jurisdictions.
At this point, Apple has reopened nearly 100 of its stores around the world, including the 53 stores in Greater China, which have been open since early March, along with more recent reopenings in South Korea, Australia, Austria, and Germany. Apple has a total of 511 locations globally, with over half of those located in the United States.