By Chand Bellur
May 10, 2020 at 8:30 p.m. PT
- The novel coronavirus pandemic has killed almost 300,000 people in the world, with over 4 million infected.
- Ahead of the curve, Apple closed down brick and mortar stores throughout the world before most stay-at-home orders were in place.
- Select Apple Stores in Alaska, Alabama, Idaho, and South Carolina will open this week, with preventative practices in place.
COVID-19 Shutters Apple Stores
Apple has been ahead of the curve when it comes to COVID-19. The Cupertino company has provided tens of millions of dollars to combat the virus, in addition to software development, manufacturing expertise, and personal protective equipment donations.
Long before anyone knew or cared about COVID-19, the virus began to affect Apple’s manufacturing efforts in China. Scientists believe the virus emerged near the city of Wuhan, within proximity to Apple’s main iPhone manufacturing facility. Apple and Foxconn quickly shuttered manufacturing operations. Eventually, Apple closed down all retail outlets.
The rest of the world wasn’t concerned about the disease. Some analysts were worried that Apple wouldn’t meet quarterly revenue expectations due to iPhone production problems. Few believed that the whole world would shut down.
Eventually, individual states within the U.S. began issuing stay-at-home advisories. Two days before this, however, Apple shuttered all of its stores throughout the world. One of the first corporations to react to COVID-19, Apple led by example, influencing other corporations and governments that this is a severe problem.
Stay-at-home orders and business closures were temporary measures to flatten the curve and buy time. Eventually, the economy must open up, but with safety in mind. This week, Apple will test reopening select retail outlets in states least affected by COVID-19.
Apple to Open Retail Locations in Alaska, Alabama, Idaho, and South Carolina
COVID-19 has affected some states more than others. New York, Washington, and California were hit particularly hard by the virus. Other states, like Alaska, Alabama, Idaho, and South Carolina, didn’t experience the same impact.
Geography and population density play a significant role. States with large, multinational corporations have employees who travel throughout the world. Apple and many other American corporations do business with China regularly.
Between all of the states where Apple Stores will reopen, Alabama has the most deaths and cases of COVID-19. With less than 400 deaths, however, this is far below the toll in states like New York, California, and Washington. The other states where Apple plans to reopen are similarly low in both cases and mortality rates.
Reopened Apple Stores will have preventative measures in place to limit the disease’s spread. Both customers and employees will have temperatures checked and must answer a series of health-related questions. Customers and employees must wear masks. Reduced store capacity limits ensure that people can practice social distancing. Like many stores, patrons must wait outside before they’re allowed in, as employees manage capacity.
Apple will open its Boise, Idaho store tomorrow. Other stores will open, but there’s no defined schedule. It appears as though Apple is taking baby steps and gathering information, which should help them open more stores while keeping customers safe.