Apple closes all stores outside China as coronavirus escalates

Apple coronavirus Tim Cook
Apple confirmed that employees affected by the store closures will still be paid
// Apple closes stores outside China to prevent coronavirus spread
// The stores will be closed until March 27
// CEO Tim Cook wrote in a letter that the store closures are an “effective” way to minimise the risk of spread

Apple has announced it will be temporarily closing all retail stores “outside of Greater China” until March 27 in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Chief executive Tim Cook wrote in a letter on the company’s website on Friday to inform customers that this is “the most effective way to minimise risk of the virus’s transmission”.

“The global spread of Covid-19 is affecting every one of us. At Apple, we are people first, and we do what we do with the belief that technology can change lives and the hope that it can be a valuable tool in a moment like this.”

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Meanwhile, Apple’s online store and app will remain operational during the downtime for physical retail locations, and customers seeking customer support can visit the website.

Apple also confirmed that employees affected by the store closures will still be paid.

“All of our hourly workers will continue to receive pay in alignment with business as usual operations,” Cook said.

“We have expanded our leave policies to accommodate personal or family health circumstances created by Covid-19 — including recovering from an illness, caring for a sick loved one, mandatory quarantining, or childcare challenges due to school closures.”

Apple’s “committed donations” to Covid-19 have reached $15 million (£12 million).

Moreover, on Friday, Apple reopened 42 of its retail stores in China that it had closed after the initial spread of the coronavirus.

Apple had warned in mid-February that it would not meet its March revenue guidance thanks to the store closures, and production slowdown thanks to the coronavirus outbreak in China.

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