21 May 2020
Apple was one of the first tech giants to shut down its offline stores globally to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It started by doing so in Greater China in February but also went on to re-open all stores within a month. However, the situation has not been the same for the rest of the world where the majority of stores still remain shut. It has issued a press release detailing the approach that will be followed as more and more stores open their doors to customers globally.
The ultimate goal is to re-open stores without compromising on the safety of customers as well as people who work at these stores. This is the reason Apple has said that customers will have a different experience visiting and shopping to what they have been used to so far. It is expected considering these are not the times that used to be before.
The first thing that Apple says its customers will notice is a lot of space. This is because only a few people will be allowed to enter the stores so that social distancing norms can be followed. All the employees and customers will be required to cover their faces before entering the store. If customers do not have their own face mask, they will be provided one by Apple. The team will conduct a proper screening including temperature checks of each customer before allowing them to enter.
It should be noted that not all stores will offer the same set of services. While some stores will allow people to visit and get hands-on experience of Apple devices, some will restrict the movement only to pick-up of online booked orders. The exact nature of services will be determined depending on the venue and COVID-19 situation around that place.
Apple has further made it clear that it will continue to monitor the situation and follow guidelines issued by local authorities. If at any time it feels like re-opening of stores is proving to be or could be dangerous, it would not hesitate from shutting them down once again. As of now, it will re-open 25 new stores in the United States and 10 stores in Canada this week followed by 10 stores in Italy next week.