Apple to Close All Stores Outside China Until End of March

Apple CEO Tim Cook said his company would temporarily close all retail stores outside Greater China until March 27.

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“In all of our offices, we are moving to flexible work arrangements worldwide outside of Greater China. That means team members should work remotely if their job allows, and those whose work requires them to be on site should follow guidance to maximize interpersonal space. Extensive, deep cleaning will continue at all sites. In all our offices, we are rolling out new health screenings and temperature checks,” he wrote in a statement on Apple’s official website.

The store closures will begin in the United States and will be gradually implemented in other countries around the world, except China.

Nonetheless, Apple’s online store will remain open, while for service and support, customers can visit Apple’s official support portal. The company will also continue to pay full salaries to employees affected by the closures.

“All of our hourly workers will continue to receive pay in alignment with business as usual operations. We have expanded our leave policies to accommodate personal or family health circumstances created by COVID-19 — including recovering from an illness, caring for a sick loved one, mandatory quarantining, or childcare challenges due to school closures,” Cook noted.

As the world struggles to fight off the COVID-19 pandemic, China is gradually getting back to normal life. Currently almost 88% of infected patients in China have been cured with a mere 9997 remaining in hospitals as of March 16.