Apple closes at least a dozen stores in Los Angeles area as cases surge in California and Los Angeles County moves toward becoming pandemic ‘epicenter’
Apple temporarily shut down some of its retail stores in California over the weekend, following a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in the state.
The move, coming during the peak Christmas shopping season, was the first time the company shut down Apple Stores since June.
At least a dozen California stores were shut down beginning on Friday and Saturday, with closures primarily affecting the Los Angeles area, while stores elsewhere in the state remained open for order pick-ups and tech support appointments.
The closures affect all Los Angeles-area stores, including major outlets at The Grove and Beverly Centre shopping centres, Santa Monica and in the Glendale area.
Some of the closing stores remained temporarily available for previously scheduled appointments, the company said on its website.
Those appointments include the pickup of existing online orders and previously scheduled in-store tech support visits or one-on-one shopping sessions through Tuesday, 22 December, Apple said.
In June Apple again shut down 32 stores as coronavirus cases increased following the easing of lockdown restrictions, and again reopened them as conditions improved.
Currently the majority of the company’s North American stores are open to customers by appointment only, such as to pick up an online order, meet with a tech support specialist or for a one-on-one shopping session.
However, Apple has also temporarily shut down all three of its Salt Lake City stores, its locations in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, its Omaha, Nebraska location, all four of its Minneapolis stores and its Anchorage, Alaska store, according to its website.
Its stores largely remain open across Canada and the eastern US, however, including its Apple Store locations across the New York City area.
Apple didn’t indicate when it plans to reopen the affected stores.
The US has reported 17.2 million Covid-19 infections and more than 300,000 deaths this year, with California one of the hardest-hit areas.
On Friday, Dr. Brad Spellberg, the chief medical officer at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Centre, said Los Angeles County was “moving towards becoming the epicenter of the pandemic”, with hospitals in the area “critically overcrowded”.
Health regulations in the area allow critical businesses, such as those selling equipment used to work from home, to remain open at reduced capacity.