Apple re-closing several stores in US due to COVID-19 spikes, including seven in Texas

Apple stores in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Arizona are temporarily closing again as the coronavirus reasserts itself.

Apple Store in Santa Monica - California - United States

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After reopening many of its US stores following the coronavirus lockdown, Apple announced on Wednesday that it is re-closing seven of them in the Houston, Texas area, adding to the 11 stores closed on Saturday after a spike in COVID-19 infections across several states.

The Houston area stores that will close beginning Thursday are all four locations in the city of Houston as well as the Baybrook Mall store in Friendswood, Texas, the store in Sugar Land, Texas, and the store in The Woodlands, Texas. 

The new announcement came after Texas reported a daily record of COVID-19 cases on Tuesday of more than 5,000 new infections with 944 of them from Houston, according to the New York Times.

Apple closed these stores on June 20:

Florida

  • Waterside Shops
  • Coconut Point

North Carolina

  • Southpark
  • Northlake Mall

South Carolina

  • Haywood Mall

Arizona

  • Chandler Fashion Center
  • Scottsdale Fashion Square
  • Arrowhead
  • SanTan Village
  • Scottsdale Quarter
  • La Encantada

SEE: Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs (TechRepublic Premium)

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"Due to current COVID-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas," Apple said in a statement shared with TechRepublic. "We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation, and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible."

SEE: COVID-19: A guide and checklist for restarting your business (TechRepublic Premium)

Apple's moves to close and then reopen and now re-close certain stores follow the pattern of coronavirus infections and cases. On March 14, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that all stores outside of Greater China would be closed until March 27 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. A few days later that deadline was changed to indicate that the stores would be closed "until further notice."

The following month, Apple gradually began to reopen stores, starting April 18 with the location in Seoul, South Korea. Then in early May, the company reopened its store in Vienna, Austria, soon followed by almost all its stores in Australia. Also in May, stores began to reopen in Switzerland, Italy, and Canada. Around mid-May, Apple began reopening stores in the US, starting with Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska. By the end of the month, more than 130 US stores had reopened.

But as coronavirus infections have declined in certain states, they've roared back with a vengeance in other states, most notably in the South and Southwest. On Thursday, Florida was hit by a dramatic jump in new COVID-19 cases with 3,208 new ones in just 24 hours, according to CBS Miami.  

At the time of the decision to close Apple stores on June 20, North Carolina has been setting record highs for new COVID-19 cases with a total of 46,855 as of June 17, a jump of 1,002 from the previous day. Likewise, South Carolina and Arizona have each been walloped by dramatic spikes in infections.

"The most concerning areas for additional widespread community transmission continue to be in Texas, Arizona, the Carolinas and, once again, Florida. In fact, Florida has all the makings of the next large epicenter…the risk there is the worst it has ever been in our projections," the Childrens' Hospital of Philadelphia said in a blog post on June 17.

In a letter posted by Apple on May 17, Deirdre O'Brien, the company's senior vice president of retail and people, explained the criteria Apple uses to determine if it should reopen a store, and if it should keep it open.

"We look at every available piece of data—including local cases, near- and long‑term trends, and guidance from national and local health officials," O'Brien said. "These are not decisions we rush into—and a store opening in no way means that we won't take the preventative step of closing it again should local conditions warrant."

This story was updated with new information on Apple store closures.

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