Apple announces its retail stores are closing ‘until further notice’ [Update]

All stores outside of greater China will close until March 27th

Update: 03/17/2020: Earlier this week Apple said it would reopen its stores on March 27th, but now a note on its website states that stores will be shut down around the world until further notice.

The original story is available below:

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Apple is closing all its retail stores “outside of Greater China,” until March 27th. The company’s CEO Tim Cook announced the details in a letter posted on Apple’s website.

“The most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance,” Cook wrote in the letter. “We are committed to providing exceptional service to our customers.”

This is a global closure with every store shuttering immediately except for those in China. Stores in China reopened as of March 13th.

Apple will keep its online store and the Apple Store app opened, and customers that require support can visit ‘support.apple.com.’

The company says it will continue to do its best to mitigate the effects of the virus through deep cleaning of its locations, and new health screenings and temperature checks will be added to all of its offices.

Hourly workers will continue to receive pay, said the company’s letter.

Additionally, for Apple employees that are still working, the company has extended its leave policy to accommodate personal or family health circumstances resulting from the virus.

“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,” reads the company’s statement.

However, Apple is encouraging all its employees that can work from home to do so.

Apple has donated $15 million USD ($21 million CAD) to the COVID-19 response and plans to match its donations two-to-one to support efforts locally, nationally and internationally.

Earlier this week, Apple announced that WWDC 2020 is moving to an online-only conference format.

You can read Apple’s complete response here.

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