Apple to reopen its first store outside China amidst coronavirus outbreak


An Apple Store in South Korea will reopen on April 18 following the company’s decision to close all stores outside China due to COVID-19.

Apple’s first store outside China is emerging from the effects of the coronavirus quarantine. The website for the company’s store in Seoul, South Korea, now says that it will reopen on Saturday, April 18. This marks the first reopening of an Apple Store since Apple closed all its retail outlets outside China in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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The website for the Apple Garosugil store in the upscale neighborhood of Gangnam indicates limited hours for the entire week following the reopening, from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., as spotted by 9to5Mac. The store opened its doors on January 26, 2018, as Apple’s first and premier retail spot in South Korea.

Apple confirmed the store’s reopening in a statement shared with TechRepublic.

“South Korea has shown great progress during the spread of COVID-19, and we’re excited to announce the reopening of Apple Garosugil. We look forward to seeing our customers again and offer support during this time of need. To start, we’ll have an adjusted schedule and guidelines to ensure customers and employees continue to stay healthy. A focus for the store will be service and support at the Genius Bar. For customers who want to make a purchase, we have several options, including ordering online for delivery or pick up in store. We also have a number of service and support options available online for anyone who needs help with their Apple products.” 

Senior Vice President of People and Retail Deirdre O’Brien reportedly told Apple employees that the company was looking to reopen some of its stores on a staggered basis during the first half of April, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg News.

On March 13, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the company would be closing all its retail stores outside Greater China until March 26 as the coronavirus has forced people around the world to isolate and social distance from one another. That forecast was later revised to indicate that stores would be closed until further notice. At the same time, Cook noted that the Greater China stores would be reopening as the rate of COVID-19 infections have “dramatically declined” there.

Greater China includes mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. The first country to be affected by the virus, China has also made significant progress in combatting the disease, reducing the number of cases and deaths overtime. The country recently lifted the 76-day lockdown initiated to slow the spread of the virus. However, it did revise the number of deaths in Wuhan, the city where the virus reportedly originated, following criticism about the accuracy of previous estimates.

The move to reopen the store in South Korea follows the country’s aggressive efforts to stem the tide of COVID-19 infections and deaths. Using a combination of social distancing, testing, and contact tracing, the country has been able to reduce the daily number of new cases. However, some South Koreans who had been cleared of the virus have since contracted it again.

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Apple store in Bangkok

Image: Getty Images



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