An Apple Store in Europe has reopened its doors following the company’s decision to temporarily close all outlets outside of greater China amid the coronavirus outbreak. On Monday, the Karntner Strasse store in Vienna, Austria, became the first Apple location in Europe and outside Asia Pacific to again allow customers to venture inside.
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The store’s website (English translation) shows limited hours from 11am to 6pm Monday through Saturday and closed on Sunday. A message on the site states that the store is open again but that it’s requiring safe distancing rules. That means customers may have to wait before they can enter the store. And once inside, they must wear a protective mask, either one of their own or one supplied by the store.
Apple confirmed the store’s reopening in a statement shared with TechRepublic.
“We’re excited to begin welcoming visitors back to Apple Karntner Strasse. With many Austrians working and learning from home, our initial focus will be providing service and support at the Genius Bar. We’ll reopen initially with additional safety procedures, including social distancing and an adjusted schedule, to ensure customers and employees continue to stay healthy. Customers should also know there may be a delay to entering the store for our walk-in visitors to make purchases, and they may find it easier to buy online for delivery or in-store pick up.”
On April 6, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced that Austria was preparing for a “resurrection” after Easter, meaning the country would start to allow some businesses and stores to reopen following a brief but seemingly effective shutdown. Austria has reported almost 16,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases with more than 13,000 recovered and 600 deaths. The number of new infections have been steadily dropping since mid-April.
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In mid-March, Apple closed all its retail outlets outside of greater China as the coronavirus was sweeping throughout the world. The decision to leave the stores in greater China open followed that country’s reduction in new COVID-19 cases. On April 18, Apple reopened its store in Seoul, South Korea. Similarly, that decision came about as that country was seeing a decline in new infections.
Next on the agenda is Australia. On Thursday, Apple will reopen 21 of its 22 stores in Australia. Only the store in Sydney will remain closed due to renovations.