Apple reopens 100 retail stores globally, more to follow

San Jose, May 18 (IANS) Apple has managed to reopen 100 retail stores out of more than 500 worldwide, as it aims to safely restart operations.

Apple closed all its retail stores outside Greater China in March as COVID-19 pandemic spread. All the Apple stores in Greater China are now open.

The company plans to reopen 25 more stores in the US, 12 in Canada and 10 in Italy over the next week. Apple has reopened some stores in the US, starting with Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska.

“In China, and later around the world, we were one of the first companies to close our stores. In Greater China, we saw the importance of swift action — and the critical importance of social distance — to slow the virus' spread,” said Apple's head of retail Deidre O'Brien in a statement on Sunday.

“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,” he added.

Apple said it looks at every available piece of data — including local cases, near and long-term trends, and guidance from national and local health officials, before it reopens stores.

“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,” according to O'Brien.

Apple is taking some additional steps in most places.

“Face coverings will be required for all of our teams and customers, and we will provide them to customers who don't bring their own. Temperature checks will be conducted at the door, and posted health questions will screen for those with symptoms — like cough or fever — or who have had recent exposure to someone infected with COVID-19,” O'Brien elaborated.

Throughout the day, Apple is conducting enhanced deep cleanings that place special emphasis on all surfaces, display products, and highly trafficked areas.

“We've also taken this time to consider how we can serve our customers' needs even more effectively, whether online or in our stores. For many stores, that will mean curb-side pick-up and drop off. If you choose to buy online, we can ship to your home or make your new items available for convenient pick-up at our stores,” informed the Apple executive.



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