Tim Cook, writing at Apple.com last night, announced that Apple would close all of its retail stores outside of Greater China. (Just as it reopens all the retail stores in Greater China.)
We will be closing all of our retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27. We are committed to providing exceptional service to our customers. Our online stores are open at www.apple.com, or you can download the Apple Store app on the App Store. For service and support, customers can visit support.apple.com. I want to thank our extraordinary Retail teams for their dedication to enriching our customers’ lives. We are all so grateful to you.
Additionally, Apple is continuing to pay all hourly workers as normal, allowing all of its employees to work remotely if they can, and expanding leave policies.
Moreover, the company has donated $15 million to coronavirus response so far, and will match employee donations two-to-one.
All of these are smart, important moves, and we expect no less from one of the most valuable companies on the planet. Frankly, Apple can afford to shut down its stores for two weeks–and, more to the point, these are not essential stores that need to be open during these times, especially since products are still available online. Presumably those with pressing tech issues that require Genius Bar support will be affected, but hopefully that impact is minor for the moment.
And, of course, this comes on the heels of Apple’s decision to move WWDC 2020 online. Strange days, indeed.