Apple is closing shop in the wake of the coronavirus.
As the United States begins entering a stasis state to wait for COVID-19 to blow over, different retailers have had different reactions. Essential stores like supermarkets have of course remained open, though some have had to begin enforcing limits on certain items like paper products and soap, while others have had to start closing earlier in the day to completely clean and restock. Some non-essential businesses have remained open, though many have insisted that employees are asked to remain home at the first sign of sickness. In a somewhat surprising move, however, one of the tech giants is closing shop: Apple.
Apple announced on Saturday that the majority of its retail locations outside of China would be closing up until March 27 at the earliest. This entails over 450 locations across 21 different countries. Apple is one of the first major retailers to take such a drastic move against the coronavirus (though it is certainly appreciated). Apple originally closed many of its Chinese locations in January when the virus first started spreading, but since cases in China are starting to go down and people are starting to recover, they have reopened a portion of those locations.
In a statement, Apple’s Chief Executive, Tim Cook, explained that “the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance.”
In a good guy move, all hourly Apple Store employees will still make their regular wages during the closure, though anyone with a position that can be worked from home is being asked to do so. Apple also announced that their annual conference, originally planned to be held in June, will be changed to an online-only event.