Initial openings of select stores will happen in Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama and Alaska, with precautions to avoid crowding. Face coverings will be required and social distancing will be enforced.
“We’re excited to begin reopening stores in the U.S. next week,” the company said in a statement reported by multiple media outlets. “Our team is constantly monitoring local heath data and government guidance, and as soon as we can safely open our stores, we will.”
Efforts by retail employees initially will center on the Genius Bar, with limits on the number of customers allowed in stores at any one time. Appointments will be available, though store hours could be reduced in the early going. The company expects some walk-in customers could experience delays and recommended that customers buy products online for “contactless” delivery or in-store pickup.
Many of Apple’s 510 global locations have reopened, including 21 of 22 locations in Australia and many across Asia. Vienna, Austria’s store reopened on Tuesday.
When the tech giant reported financial results April 30 for its fiscal second quarter, ending March 31, its revenue inched up 1% to 58.3 billion despite the massive disruptions caused by COVID-19. In a call with Wall Street analysts to discuss the quarter, CEO Tim Cook said the reopening of stores in China offers a rough guide for how he expects other global regions to come back to life. After closing stores in February there, the company opened “on a staggered basis” over a 30-day period lasting through mid-March. “From a demand point of view, we saw then an improvement in March over February,” Cook said. “If you look at, kind of where we are today, we’ve seen further improvement.”
The downturn in retail sales was offset by a “phenomenal” quarter in online sales, Cook said.