Apple is reopening certain stores in Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska with social distancing. The company says its primary focus will be providing service and support at the Genius Bar.
Apple will soon reopen its first stores in the United States after recently closing all locations outside of Greater China amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Boise, Idaho store is the first to reopen.
"We're excited to begin reopening stores in the US next week, starting with some stores in Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska," Apple said in a statement shared with TechRepublic on May 8. "Our team is constantly monitoring local heath data and government guidance, and as soon as we can safely open our stores, we will."
SEE: Apple Macbook Air 2020: Cheat sheet (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Apple has one Apple Store in Idaho, two stores in South Carolina, two stores in Alabama, and one store in Alaska. The first store to reopen will be the store in Boise, Idaho, which opens on Monday, May 11, with limited hours from 11 am to 7 pm Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 pm on Sunday. A notice on the site indicates that the store is following social distancing measures, which means customers may have to wait in line before entering and must wear face masks while in the store.
The Charleston, SC store will reopen on Wednesday, May 13, with limited hours from 10 am to 6 pm Monday through Saturday and 11 am to 7 pm on Sunday. The Greenville, SC store still lists it as being temporarily closed with no reopening scheduled. The Birmingham, AL store and Huntsville, AL store will both reopen on Wednesday, May 13 with limited hours from 11 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday and noon to 6 pm on Sunday. The Anchorage, AK store is also still listed as being temporarily closed.
Apple's statement provided further details on the measures being implemented at the reopened stores.
"With many working and learning from home, our primary focus will be providing service and support at the Genius Bar," Apple said. "We'll open initially with additional safety procedures including temperature checks, social distancing, and face coverings to ensure customers and employees continue to stay healthy. Our new social distance protocol allows for a limited number of visitors in the store at one time so there may be a delay for walk-in customers. We recommend, where possible, customers buy online for contactless delivery or in-store pick up."
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 amended to say that the stores would be closed "until further notice." At the same time, Cook said that the stores in Greater China (which includes mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan) would reopen as the rate of COVID-19 infections "dramatically declined" across those regions.
Since then, Apple has gradually been reopening stores in certain countries and locations.
On April 18, the store in Seoul, South Korea, reopened with limited hours of 12 pm to 8 pm, and that's now expanded slightly to 12 pm to 9 pm. On May 5, the store in Vienna, Austria reopened, becoming the first Apple location in Europe and outside Asia-Pacific to again allow customers to go inside. And on May 7, Apple reopened 21 of its 22 stores in Australia, with only the Sydney store still closed due to renovations. All of websites for the reopened stores also instruct visitors to follow certain social distancing rules.
There are more than 500 Apple Stores around the world with 272 locations in the United States.
This article was updated on May 11, 2020 with additional information on the opening dates for specific stores.
- The latest cancellations: How the coronavirus is disrupting tech conferences worldwide (TechRepublic)
- Coronavirus having major effect on tech industry beyond supply chain delays (free PDF) (TechRepublic download)
- Coronavirus domain names are the latest hacker trick (TechRepublic)
- Coronavirus and its impact on the enterprise (TechRepublic Premium)
- As coronavirus spreads, here's what's been canceled or closed (CBS News)
- Coronavirus: Effective strategies and tools for remote work during a pandemic (ZDNet)
- How to track the coronavirus: Dashboard delivers real-time view of the deadly virus (ZDNet)
- Coronavirus and COVID-19: All your questions answered (CNET)
- Coronavirus: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)