Apple’s SVP of Retail + People Deirdre O’Brien published a letter today detailing the company’s approach to reopening its 510 retail stores in a safe and careful way. All Apple Stores outside of Greater China closed on March 13 to slow the spread of COVID-19.

9to5Mac, By Michael Steeber


© 9to5Mac | Apple details its approach to safety in retail stores, plans to reopen more than 25 US locations next week


O’Brien stresses at the outset of her letter that care has driven Apple’s decision-making throughout the pandemic, noting that Apple was one of the first major companies to close its retail stores. The company wants customers to understand that the Apple Store experience they’ve come to know will be a little different for the foreseeable future, in the name of safety.

Apple began reopening some of its retail stores outside of Greater China in April, starting in South Korea. Every reopened store has followed and expanded upon safety procedures first proven successful at Apple Stores in China. US stores began reopening with a single location in Idaho on May 11. As of May 17, 99 stores around the world are open to customers. Over 25 more locations in the US, 12 in Canada, and 10 in Italy will reopen in the coming week.

According to Apple:
Next week we’ll continue our very gradual and thoughtful reopening of US stores, adding more than 25 locations in seven states. While we know many customers are eager for their local store to reopen, our commitment is to reopen our stores when we are confident the environment is safe. We miss our customers and look forward to seeing them again soon. 
All open locations will offer Apple Pickup, where customers can buy online and select a time to pick up their product at the store, and Genius Bar appointments by reservation. Some locations will offer only curbside or storefront service and we encourage all customers check their local store webpage for more information about hours and services offered. Customers can also visit apple.com for support by phone or chat. 
Anyone visiting our store will see some additional steps, including social distancing, which creates ample open space for customers to have one-to-one connection with our teams. Temperature checks will be conducted at the door and face coverings will be required for all of our teams and customers, which we’ll provide to customers who don’t bring their own. Our social distance protocol means a limited number of visitors in the store at one time so there may be a delay for walk-in customers. 
Our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19 and those working around the clock to treat, study and contain its spread.
We’ve closely documented the new safety procedures and social distancing policy Apple has enforced for the protection of employees and customers. Apple’s letter to customers addresses reopening concerns by detailing the internal process teams follow to determine when a store is safe to reopen:
Our commitment is to only move forward with a reopening once we’re confident we can safely return to serving customers from our stores. We look at every available piece of data — including local cases, near and long‑term trends, and guidance from national and local health officials. 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.
At reopened locations, Apple employs a full-time janitorial staff performing cleanings every hour. Social distancing extends from the sales floor to back of house employee areas. In some cases, Apple’s social distancing requirement of 2 meters exceeds local guidelines. All products submitted to the Genius Bar by customers are subject to a thorough cleaning at the time of intake and customer return.

A partial list of US stores reopening next week: (California and Washington's locations are limited to curbside or storefront service only)

California:
  • Arden Fair (Sacramento) – May 18
  • Roseville (Roseville) – May 18
  • Higuera Street (San Louis Obispo) – May 18
  • Vintage Faire (Modesto) – May 20
  • Del Monte (Monterey) – May 20
  • Fashion Fair (Fresno) – May 20
  • Valley Plaza (Bakersfield) – May 20
Washington:
  • Tacoma Mall (Tacoma) – May 18
  • Southcenter (Tukwila) – May 18
  • Bellevue Square (Bellevue) – May 18
  • River Park Square (Spokane) – May 18
  • Alderwood Mall (Lynwood) – May 18
  • University Village (Seattle) – May 18
Florida:
  • Altamonte (Altamonte Springs) – May 18
  • Florida Mall (Orlando) – May 18
  • Millenia (Orlando) – May 18
  • St. Johns Town Center (Jacksonville) – May 18
Colorado:
  • The Promenade Shops at Briargate (Colorado Springs) – May 18
Hawaii:
  • Kahala (Honolulu) – May 20
  • Royal Hawaiian (Honolulu) – May 20
  • Ala Moana (Honolulu) – May 20
Oklahoma:
  • Woodland Hills (Tulsa) – May 20
  • Penn Square (Oklahoma City) – May 20
Follow our retail guide for in-depth coverage of the latest Apple Store news.

This article was originally published 9to5Mac.
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