While we recently reported about Apple re-opening all of its branded stores in China after a month long closure, the company has now announced closing of all stores outside of Greater China till March 27. In a letter posted on the company’s official website, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that this was in response to the global (sans China) outbreak of COVID-19.
“The global spread of COVID-19 is affecting every one of us,” Cook wrote. “At Apple, we are people first, and we do what we do with the belief that technology can change lives and the hope that it can be a valuable tool in a moment like this.”
The company will continue to operate its online stores.
Cook said, “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.”
He also detailed about the company’s current efforts in order to counter and curtail the impact of the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak. Cook said that the company is moving to flexible work arrangements worldwide outside of Greater China. This arrangement will imply to team members who can work if if their job allows. For those whose work requires them to be on site, they are mandated to follow guidance to maximize interpersonal space.
Additionally, Cook also announced that Apple’s committed donations to the global COVID-19 response — both to help treat those who are sick and to help lessen the economic and community impacts of the pandemic — today reached $15 million worldwide. The company is also starting to match employee donations two-to-one to support COVID-19 response efforts locally, nationally and internationally.