In mid-March, Apple closed all of its stores outside of China “until further notice.” It was a sweeping — but necessary move for a world facing downturn as a result of a growing pandemic. In a statement issued on Monday, titled, “To our Customers,” Retail SVP Deirdre O’Brien offered insight into the company’s plans to reopen locations.
Nearly 100 stores have already resumed services, according to O’Brien — though the famously open retail spaces are taking on a new look in the face of the highly contagious novel coronavirus. “In every store, we’re focused on limiting occupancy and giving everybody lots of room, and renewing our focus on one-on-one, personalized service at the Genius Bar and throughout the store,” she writes.
A spokesperson for the company adds, “Next week we’ll continue our very gradual and thoughtful reopening of US stores, adding more than 25 locations in seven states. While we know many customers are eager for their local store to reopen, our commitment is to reopen our stores when we are confident the environment is safe. We miss our customers and look forward to seeing them again soon.”
As seen in the above image, face covers will be required for both employees and customers alike — already a legal requirement in many locales. More unusual for many retail establishments is the addition of temperature checks now conducted at the store’s entrance, coupled with posted health questions. Apple has also instituted deeper cleaning on all surfaces, including display products.
That last point is an important one given how much of the company’s store layout revolves around hands-on products. Curb-side pick and drop off have been added, as well, for those who understandably would like to avoid the in-person experience.
As for when each location reopens, Apple says it’s monitoring health trends and local/national guidance to determine the timeframe. And as the conversation of secondary waves begins to become a reality in many areas, O’Brien says the company will close stores down again, if necessary. “These are not decisions we rush into,” she writes, “and a store opening in no way means that we won’t take the preventative step of closing it again should local conditions warrant.”