Apple stores in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Arizona are temporarily closing again as the coronavirus reasserts itself.
After reopening many of its US stores following the coronavirus lockdown, Apple is reclosing 11 of them amid a spike in COVID-19 infections across several states.
The stores scheduled to be closed starting Saturday, June 20, include the following:
- Waterside Shops
- Coconut Point
- Chandler Fashion Center
- Scottsdale Fashion Square
- SanTan Village
- Scottsdale Quarter
- La Encantada
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“Due to current COVID-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas,” Apple said in a statement shared with TechRepublic. “We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation, and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible.”
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Apple’s moves to close and then reopen and now re-close certain stores follow the pattern of coronavirus infections and cases. On March 14, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that all stores outside of Greater China would be closed until March 27 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. A few days later that deadline was changed to indicate that the stores would be closed “until further notice.”
The following month, Apple gradually began to reopen stores, starting April 18 with the location in Seoul, South Korea. Then in early May, the company reopened its store in Vienna, Austria, soon followed by almost all its stores in Australia. Also in May, stores began to reopen in Switzerland, Italy, and Canada. Around mid-May, Apple began reopening stores in the US, starting with Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska. By the end of the month, more than 130 US stores had reopened.
But as coronavirus infections have declined in certain states, they’ve roared back with a vengeance in other states, most notably in the South and Southwest. On Thursday, Florida was hit by a dramatic jump in new COVID-19 cases with 3,208 new ones in just 24 hours, according to CBS Miami. So far, Florida has been hit with almost 86,000 cases, killing more than 3,000 people.
North Carolina has been setting record highs for new COVID-19 cases with a total of 46,855 as of Wednesday, a jump of 1,002 from Tuesday. Likewise, South Carolina and Arizona have each been walloped by dramatic spikes in infections.
“The most concerning areas for additional widespread community transmission continue to be in Texas, Arizona, the Carolinas and, once again, Florida. In fact, Florida has all the makings of the next large epicenter…the risk there is the worst it has ever been in our projections,” the Childrens’ Hospital of Philadelphia said in a blog post on Wednesday.
In a letter posted by Apple on May 17, Deirdre O’Brien, the company’s senior vice president of retail and people, explained the criteria Apple uses to determine if it should reopen a store, and if it should keep it open.
“We look at every available piece of data—including local cases, near- and long‑term trends, and guidance from national and local health officials,” O’Brien said. “These are not decisions we rush into—and a store opening in no way means that we won’t take the preventative step of closing it again should local conditions warrant.”