Coronavirus: Apple closes all retail stores outside China
Apple is closing all its retail stores outside of Greater China in response to the Coronavirus crisis, the company confirmed this morning.
Not business as usual for Apple
In a note from CEO, Tim Cook, published to the company’s website, Apple also confirmed further decisions to respond to the crisis:
- WWDC to be an online event.
- Staff to work from home where possible, and to take steps to protect those who cannot.
- $15 million contribution to global response, with the company matching employee contributions two to one.
- New flexible pay systems and guaranteed pay for retail staff furloughed as retail stores worldwide close until March 27.
- A dedicated and curated Coronavirus section at Apple News.
In the note, Tim Cook observed the gravity of the situation:
‘There is no mistaking the challenge of this moment,” he said.
”The entire Apple family is indebted to the heroic first responders, doctors, nurses, researchers, public health experts and public servants globally who have given every ounce of their spirit to help the world meet this moment.
”We do not yet know with certainty when the greatest risk will be behind us.”And yet I have been inspired by the humanity and determination I have seen from all corners of our global community. As President Lincoln said in a time of great adversity:
“The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.”
“That’s always how Apple has chosen to meet big challenges. And it’s how we’ll rise to meet this one, too.
In our workplaces and communities, we must do all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Apple will be temporarily closing all stores outside of Greater China until March 27 and committing $15M to help with worldwide recovery. https://t.co/ArdMA43cFJ
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 14, 2020
The global spread of COVID-19 is affecting every one of us. 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. Teachers are innovating to make remote lessons come alive. Companies are experimenting with new ways to stay productive. And medical experts can diagnose illnesses and reach millions with critical updates in the blink of an eye. We are all adapting and responding in our own way, and Apple wants to continue to play a role in helping individuals and communities emerge stronger.
What about China?
China seems to have bought the infection under more control, in part because its government took action fast, as others elsewhere seem to have failed to do.
”First, I want to recognize Apple’s family in Greater China. Though the rate of infections has dramatically declined, we know COVID-19’s effects are still being strongly felt. I want to express my deep gratitude to our team in China for their determination and spirit. As of today, all of our stores in Greater China have reopened. I also want to thank our operations team and partners for their remarkable efforts to restore our supply chain. What we’ve learned together has helped us all develop the best practices that are assisting enormously in our global response.
”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.”