By Chand Bellur
May 7, 2020 at 4:42 p.m. PT
- The novel coronavirus pandemic caused Apple to shutter most of its stores around the world.
- Apple opened most stores in mainland China in mid-March due to aggressive containment of COVID-19.
- Twenty-one Apple stores will re-open in Australia in the next few weeks.
Apple Stores Close Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
The novel coronavirus pandemic has shuttered stores around the world. With stay-at-home advisories in place and a concerned public, few would venture into any store these days, unless for essential needs. With its high contagiousness and mortality rate, COVID-19 will overrun health care systems unless people stay home and practice social distancing when away.
Stay-at-home orders are a temporary measure. They buy time, so healthcare authorities can ramp up testing and develop effective containment strategies. Due to a poor political response, stay-at-home orders have devastated the U.S. economy. The pandemic eliminated approximately 33 million jobs in the span of a few months. Such rapid economic devastation is entirely new. Both the Great Depression and Great Recession didn’t ripple through the economy as rapidly as COVID-19.
Apple, with retail operations across the globe, was one of the first corporations to shutter retail outlets. When the virus first emerged in China, Apple quickly closed all but two retail stores. This was long before Americans thought much of the disease. In fact, Apple was one of the first companies to respond to COVID-19 with store closures.
Store closures continued around the world; however, Chinese Apple Stores were re-opened in mid-March. Indeed, Apple Store re-openings are a strong indicator of which nations have controlled the pandemic. Apple recently announced that it will re-open 21 Australian stores within the next two months.
Apple to Re-Open 21 Australian Retail Outlets
Australia has fared well with the novel coronavirus pandemic. With few urban centers and a sparse population, demographics and geography work to Australia’s advantage. They’ve also done a fantastic job in containing the outbreak.
According to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard, Australia has only experienced 97 deaths from the virus, with less than 7,000 cases overall. The graphs speak volumes, showing that Australia’s peak is a thing of the past.
Testing is central to Australia’s strategy. Although its small population and lack of overcrowding is a clear advantage, the nation embarked on an aggressive testing campaign. Australia tested almost as many people as the U.K., which has over twice the population. Testing works, and it allows nations to re-open economies.
Apple Stores are a great indicator of public health. The company is deeply vested in the pandemic and follows it with reverence. Apple is opening stores in Australia because they’ve managed to flatten the curve. As more Apple Stores open throughout the world, they become an indicator of positive public health outcomes.
It’s not business as usual in newly-reopened Apple Store facilities. Customers must have their temperature checked at the door and answer a series of health-related questions. They’re required to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer before touching any display models. Social distancing is in effect, with a limited number of customers allowed in the store at one time.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has changed life as we know it. It’s going to be a few years until things get back to normal. For now, we’re all going to have to tolerate social distancing, personal protective gear, and waiting in long lines to enter public spaces. Patience is already wearing thin, however. Even though these measures save lives, it’s unclear how long people will accept this new reality.