For the first time in almost a year, all of Apple’s retail stores in the United States are open for business.
SEE: Apple products favored by 84% in the enterprise (TechRepublic Premium)
With the reopening of several Apple Stores in Texas, all 271 US outlets have emerged from their temporary hibernations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, an Apple spokesperson confirmed to TechRepublic and as first reported by 9to5Mac. However, not all U.S. stores are fully open with customers allowed inside.
Some stores are accepting visitors via appointment only, while others are limited to pickup of online orders or Genius Bar support through Apple Express storefronts, which use plexiglass barriers to separate customers and employees.
Apple first started closing down stores in the U.S. and other countries almost a year ago as the COVID-19 outbreak prompted businesses to go into lockdown mode. On March 14 of 2020, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that all stores outside of Greater China would be closed until March 27 as a result of the pandemic. A few days later that deadline was amended to say that the stores would be closed “until further notice.”
Starting in April of last year, Apple gradually tried reopening stores in areas such as South Korea, Austria and Australia. Stores in the U.S. began to reopen in May amid signs of a relief in the outbreak. But as the U.S. started to experience a second wave of infections, Apple decided to close several of the stores that had reopened, especially in states hardest hit by infections.
The pandemic continues to take its toll. The U.S. alone has been recording at least 67,300 new cases of COVID-19 and at least 2,010 deaths each day, according to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by CNBC. But with the ongoing rollout of two COVID-19 vaccines and a third authorized and on the way, the number of cases has been slowing and is expected to continue to decline.
Customers looking to visit a local Apple Store for shopping, support, or pickup should first check the store’s status and hours at its page on the Apple Store website. Apple is still encouraging people to order and purchase products online for delivery or express pickup.