Apple acknowledges that its retail stores will be closed until further notice

Just a few days ago, Apple was planning to reopen its retail stores outside of China on March 27, but the company seems to have changed its mind, saying via a notice on its US website that its brick-and-mortar locations will now remain closed until further notice.

A new banner posted on Apple’s website, first spotted by 9to5Mac, cautions customers that “our retail stores are closed until further notice”.

This comes hot on then heels of last Friday’s news that the iPhone maker was temporarily closing all of its retail stores outside of Greater China for two weeks as a precautionary move to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes.

It also published a FAQ that answers some of the burning questions on customers’ minds, including return and repairs procedures following the retail store closures. According to the document, Apple will extended return period. up to 14 days after the stores reopen.

Image: Apple Michigan Avenue

At time of this writing, the FAQ stated that stores outside of Greater China will remain closed through March 27, but someone probably forgot to update the document with latest info. The banner doesn’t appear on Apple’s online stores outside of the US, but we’ll make sure to update this piece if it becomes clearer whether the indefinite closures apply to all Apple retail stores.

Last Saturday, the Cupertino tech giant outlined its response to COVID-19.

Among the measures designed to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Cupertino technology giant has expanded its leave policies to cover specific cases such as recovering from illness, caring for a sick loved one, mandatory quarantining or childcare challenges due to school closures. It’s also decided to pay workers during the store closures.

Other proactive measures Apple’s taken so far to help fight the coronavirus pandemic include:

  • Donations: Apple donated $15 million to the global COVID-19 response. Furthermore, the Cupertino company will match employee donations two-to-one.
  • Remote working: Apple is encouraging its global employees to work from home whenever possible, with hourly workers continuing to receive pay for their work.
  • Leave polices: Apple’s leave policies cover recovering from an illness, caring for a sick loved one, mandatory quarantining or childcare challenges due to school closures.
  • WWDC 2020: As announced earlier, this year’s WWDC will be an online experience. There’s going to be a keynote and developer sessions, with related videos being likely streamed via the Apple Developer app. Apple’s yet to provide further details.
  • Apple News coverage: A special COVID-19 section in the News app provides the latest verified reporting from trusted news outlets.

Responding to the crisis, the company also shut down production on all active Apple TV+ series and postponed all online training seminars for authorized technicians. So far, two Apple employees that we know of have tested positive for the coronavirus.