Apple starts gradual reopening of its US stores next week

Apple Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall will reopen in mid-May.
This Apple Store in Anchorage Alaska will be one of the first to open its doors.
Photo: Apple

BY ED HARDY • 1:01 PM, MAY 8, 2020

The long wait is almost over. Apple said Friday it will open the doors of a few of its U.S. retail locations next week. The majority of Apple Stores globally closed almost two months ago as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. More stores will reopen when the company deems it safe.

“We’re excited to begin reopening stores in the US next week, starting with some stores in Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama and Alaska,” an Apple representative told CNBC. “Our team is constantly monitoring local health data and government guidance, and as soon as we can safely open our stores, we will.”

Brick-and-mortar Apple locations are about more than selling products, and the company will use its newly reopened stores primarily to repair devices.

Efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 will limit the number of shoppers anyway. “Our new social distance protocol allows for a limited number of visitors in the store at one time so there may be a delay for walk-in customers. We recommend, where possible, customers buy online for contactless delivery or in-store pick-up,” said the company spokesperson.

A long wait for Apple Stores to reopen

Apple closed virtually all its retail stores outside mainland China on March 14 as a result of the global pandemic. Since then, it has opened a handful of stores around the world, including two stores in South Korea, one in Vienna, Austria, on May 5, and 21 of its 22 stores throughout Australia on May 7. The company said early Friday it would reopen all its 15 stores in Germany beginning May 11.null

Apple CEO Tim Cook told Bloomberg in late April that the company would “look at the data” and make decisions on reopening Apple Stores “city by city, county by county, depending on the circumstances in that particular place.”

In an effort to help customers with problems they normally would get solutions for in-store, Apple late Thursday launched a virtual online store hub. For the United States only for the time being, it offers links to Apple shopping services, answers to frequently asked questions and a Today at Apple at Home section, letting users watch prerecorded training videos remotely.

Word of the gradual reopenings came one hour before the close of the U.S. stock market. Apple stock surged almost $2.50 in three minutes on the news. It then gradually climbed to close up $7.21, or 2.38%, at $310.13 a share.

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