Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced that all of the company’s retail stores outside of Greater China will be shut down until March 27. This move of course comes due to the COVID-19 menace that has engulfed the world. Apple however, has made it clear that its online stores will indeed stay open, while worldwide support websites will also be accessible to consumers.
With this, Apple has become the first big retailer to down the shutters on its stores worldwide. India does not have any official retail stores from Apple yet, so it’s unclear whether this ban applies to its authorized retailers in the country or not. As for China, Apple stores in the country were only recently reopened after the coronavirus situation in the country was brought under control.
Tim Cook, in an official statement, wrote, “One of those lessons is that the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance. As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we’re taking additional steps to protect our team members and customers.”
He has assured employees that their remuneration will indeed be paid to them during this period of temporary closure. “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,” he said.
It was only yesterday that we heard news about Apple’s annual WWDC event having been turned into an online-only affair.