TechCrunch is reporting that an Apple Store employee based out of Santa Monica, California, has officially tested positive for COVID-19 while on leave. The test came back positive late yesterday, according to the report. The employee has been on leave since March 2, and according to Apple, has not returned to the store since being diagnosed with the disease.
As a result of the positive test, Apple has not only deep cleaned the Third St. Promenade Apple Store, but has also consulted with health experts over what happens next. The store itself remains open, which is not surprising considering Apple has not issued any store closures in any part of the United States just yet.
In any event, I’ll hop out of the way for a moment and let you read Apple’s full statement on the matter:
Apple’s first priority — now and always — is the health and safety of our employees, customers and the communities we serve. An employee at our Third St. Promenade store in Santa Monica informed us they had tested positive for COVID-19 late yesterday. The employee has not been to the store since taking leave on March 2 to care for a relative.
In consultation with health experts, we’ve taken a number of steps to protect our teams and customers. All our stores around the world have increased deep cleaning protocols and we have actively reduced customer density in all stores worldwide by cancelling Today at Apple sessions and creating extra space for Genius Bar appointments. As a precaution, we also undertook an additional extensive deep clean overnight before reopening the Third St. Promenade store.
We recognize this is a challenging and ever changing time for our global community and our thoughts are with those around the world personally affected by COVID-19 and the heroic medical professionals and researchers fighting it.
As I mentioned above, no stores in the United States have been closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, Apple has closed all of its retail stores in Italy due to the pandemic. That doesn’t mean Apple isn’t making sweeping changes for its retail stores in the United States, though. The company recently canceled all of its Today at Apple sessions in the U.S. and Canada.
The report from TC says Apple has not responded to a request for comment regarding whether or not the company plans on closing any stores in the U.S., but it doesn’t feel like it’s very far off at this point.
In case you missed it, Apple announced earlier today that it had pulled the plug on the traditional Worldwide Developers Conference this year, instead opting for an online-only experience in June.