Coronavirus: Apple Stores To Reopen In April – Report

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Internal memo allegedly says that Apple will begin reopening some stores in the first half of April, but which ones and in what countries remains unknown

Apple has allegedly slated the first half of April to begin reopening some of its stores in a post Coronavirus world.

The report did not indicate which stores would reopen and in what countries that would be, as many countries would still be under lock-down rules until mid April.

Apple of course took the decision to close all of its 42 stores in China in early February, when the full horror of the Coronavirus pandemic was still limited to the Chinese mainland.

Store reopening

The iPad maker reopened its Chinese stores earlier this month, as Covid-19 infections fell in China and spread across the world.

Now according to a report by Bloomberg, Apple expects to start reopening some stores in first half of April on a staggered basis.

Apple had closed all of its 458 retail stores outside of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan earlier this month.

The admission of store reopenings were allegedly disclosed in a memo from Apple’s senior vice president of people and retail Deirdre O’Brien, that was obtained by Bloomberg News.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the memo.

“For all of our retail stores outside of Greater China, we will reopen our stores on a staggered basis,” the memo reportedly said. “At this time, we anticipate some stores may be able to open in the first half of April depending on the conditions in their community,”

“We will provide updates for each store as soon as specific dates are established,” O’Brien added.

The memo also revealed that Apple is also extending remote work abilities for many employees through at least 5 April.

The memo to employees also said that remote work would be extended after Apple’s global offices outside of China were closed earlier this month.

“In all our offices outside of Greater China, we are extending flexible work arrangements for all team members – outside of those whose work requires them to be onsite – through at least April 5, which will then be reevaluated weekly depending on your location,” O’Brien told staff.

O’Brien said Apple is “putting the health of our teams, customers, and communities first.”

Country-by country

Any decision to re-open stores in the first half of April would have to be approved by various governments, and seems to be an ambitious target.

For example in the UK on Monday 22 March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson implemented an unprecedented three week lock-down, with people only allowed to leave their house for ‘essential shopping’ such as food and medicine, or to check on the elderly.

All non-essential shops including clothing stores, libraries and electronic shops have been ordered to close. And yes that included Apple stores.

The three week UK lock-down for example would theoretically end around 12/13 April, but it really depends on the state of the pandemic at that time as to whether the Prime Minister will allow “non-core” stores to reopen.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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