Apple closes retail stores worldwide, except in Greater China, until March 27

Apple has published a letter from CEO Tim Cook addressed to “the worldwide Apple family” regarding Apple’s efforts to help curtail the global COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. This includes closing all Apple Retail Stores worldwide, except in Greater China, until March 27th.

Apple closes retail stores. Image: Apple Fifth Avenue
Apple Fifth Avenue

Apple.com:

Apple’s COVID-19 response

To the worldwide Apple family,

The global spread of COVID-19 is affecting every one of us. At Apple, we are people first, and we do what we do with the belief that technology can change lives and the hope that it can be a valuable tool in a moment like this. Teachers are innovating to make remote lessons come alive. Companies are experimenting with new ways to stay productive. And medical experts can diagnose illnesses and reach millions with critical updates in the blink of an eye. We are all adapting and responding in our own way, and Apple wants to continue to play a role in helping individuals and communities emerge stronger.

But this global effort — to protect the most vulnerable, to study this virus, and to care for the sick — requires all of our care, and all of our participation. And I want to update you about the ways in which we are doing our part.

Giving Back

Apple’s committed donations to the global COVID-19 response — both to help treat those who are sick and to help lessen the economic and community impacts of the pandemic — today reached $15 million worldwide.

We’re also announcing that we are matching our employee donations two-to-one to support COVID-19 response efforts locally, nationally and internationally.

In Our Offices and Stores

First, I want to recognize Apple’s family in Greater China. Though the rate of infections has dramatically declined, we know COVID-19’s effects are still being strongly felt. I want to express my deep gratitude to our team in China for their determination and spirit. As of today, all of our stores in Greater China have reopened. I also want to thank our operations team and partners for their remarkable efforts to restore our supply chain. What we’ve learned together has helped us all develop the best practices that are assisting enormously in our global response.

One of those lessons is that the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance. As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we’re taking additional steps to protect our team members and customers.

We will be closing all of our retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27. We are committed to providing exceptional service to our customers. Our online stores are open at www.apple.com, or you can download the Apple Store app on the App Store. For service and support, customers can visit support.apple.com. I want to thank our extraordinary Retail teams for their dedication to enriching our customers’ lives. We are all so grateful to you.

In all of our offices, we are moving to flexible work arrangements worldwide outside of Greater China. That means team members should work remotely if their job allows, and those whose work requires them to be on site should follow guidance to maximize interpersonal space. Extensive, deep cleaning will continue at all sites. In all our offices, we are rolling out new health screenings and temperature checks.

All of our hourly workers will continue to receive pay in alignment with business as usual operations. We have expanded our leave policies to accommodate personal or family health circumstances created by COVID-19 — including recovering from an illness, caring for a sick loved one, mandatory quarantining, or childcare challenges due to school closures.

For Our Users and Partners

We know our users depend on Apple products all the time, and especially in times like these. We’re bringing the same creativity and passion to meeting this challenge that we do in everything else we undertake.

Apple News has launched a new COVID-19 section, where users can be sure that they can find the latest verified reporting from trusted news outlets.
As you may have seen, our annual Worldwide Developers Conference will be in an entirely new online format this year. We see this as an opportunity to bring together developers around the world in an innovative way.

Looking Ahead

There is no mistaking the challenge of this moment. The entire Apple family is indebted to the heroic first responders, doctors, nurses, researchers, public health experts and public servants globally who have given every ounce of their spirit to help the world meet this moment. We do not yet know with certainty when the greatest risk will be behind us.
And yet I have been inspired by the humanity and determination I have seen from all corners of our global community. As President Lincoln said in a time of great adversity: “The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.”

That’s always how Apple has chosen to meet big challenges. And it’s how we’ll rise to meet this one, too.

Tim

MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, Apple closing retail stores is the prudent thing to do and, just as obviously, this quarter is going to be quite the anomaly not just for Apple, but for pretty much everyone on earth in myriad ways. Good luck and best of health to everyone!

43 Comments

  1. Why didn’t Cook do this earlier?! Much earlier! This should have been done months ago! Cook is obviously incompetent! He should have known! He is unfit to lead! Beige Man Bad! A dementia patient or a 78-year-old commie with a bad ticker could have done all of this sooooo much better!!!

      1. No Tim should not have known, you know he listens to the Great American liar donald trump. Hell, old bone spurs, donald said that this coronavirus was a democrat hoax.

        Look 25 to 30 percent of the American population would welcome a Russian invasion. You know the group, they wear those red hats donald keeps selling. Hahaha, such suckers. We should be bombing Russian military assets all over the world, and should have started back when the Russian harass the United States Navy. But old bones spurs, chicken hawk, lie to everybody all the time donald just puts his lip on Putin’s butt. Those repubs in the senate should do the honorable thing. Hahahahahaha Ok, yeah, they have no idea what honor is. Ok and they have stacked the courts with more red cap wearing nuts. People, if we live through this there may be only one government at the end.

        Poor India, with their cast system, no matter how much they claim cast is over, if the virus does not burn itself out, India could be a much smaller country.

        Now what about those sells of iPhones, iPads, macs, hmm, as I have said before you will spend your money on food, meds, toilet paper long before you will take out a loan, credit card, and buy apple’s overpriced device. 1000 + for a phone, come on people. Think 149 – 349, that’s even high. Hey just wait until you are at home to make your calls. These phones are distractions, public safety hazards. I’m sick of hearing your conversations. I’m tired of seeing you people walking down the street seemingly talking to yourselves. Hey you look crazy.

        1. President Trump did not call the coronavirus itself a hoax.

          President Trump said the Democrats’ criticism of his administration’s response to the new coronavirus outbreak “is their new hoax,” following their “Russia, Russia, Russia!,” scam Democrat-only “impeachment,” and other hoaxes.

          The rest of your post is so unhinged, I won’t even bother.

            1. No, BOB, the hoax is that Trump’s response was poor, as the Democrat Party and their media lapdogs moved immediately to make this a political issue – so caring are they about citizen’s health* – but large swaths of the American public approve of the administration’s handling to date. Smart Americans see how the Democrat Party tried to take a life and death issue and use it to try to get themselves elected.

              If Obama had done half of what Trump has done to date, the media would laud him as the second coming. Any honest person knows that to be the truth.

              *Why should they care? The Dem’s can miraculously get dead people to vote for them in large numbers

          1. “A virus starts in China, bleeds its way into various countries all around the world, doesn’t spread widely at all in the United States because of the early actions that myself and my administration took against a lot of other wishes,” Trump said, “and the Democrats’ single talking point, and you see it, is that it’s Donald Trump’s fault, right?”

            Facts: USA has fewer tests, fewer respirators, fewer quarantine facilities, and fewer masks per capita than most other industrial nations. Sorry but that is not political nitpicking, that is pointing out gross unpreparedness. Trump had months to amp up CDC response but instead he tweeted how the virus would blow over like a seasonal flu. Then of course he lashes out at Democrats when called on it. It wasn’t only Dems criticizing.

            While Trump tweeted and rallied, Dr. Fauci admitted the truth:

            https://www.businessinsider.com/top-highlights-of-dr-anthony-fauci-congressional-testimony-2020-3?op=1

            Nobody politicized more than the potus.

    1. Just as stupid as grounding airplanes.

      Vulnerable people already know to take special precautions. Business especially restaurants and retailers already know how to take sanitation seriously. The problem is that there weren’t enough tests available to detect the virus, a major lapse in pandemic prevention management. Now that it’s everywhere, closing stores is more value signaling from SJW Cook.

      Bad management from one entity isn’t excuse for another, First Whatabout!

      1. Taiwan is an independent democratic country. Macau and Hong Kong are “Special Administrative Regions” of the People’s Republic of China. Taiwan is Taiwan – not a “special” region of another country.

        1. Part a China sorry. Do you think trump would put up any kind of fight if China just rolled in. Nope, not old bone spurs. Trump lies so much and has made so many distrust the government, hell, we are the walking dead. Roll film.

          1. Whether or not Trump supports Taiwan has nothing to do with China not being part of Taiwan. US support for Taiwan and China’s independence from Taiwan are two issues.

            1. Get over it. Taiwan, you are part of China. How willing are the Taiwanese willing to fight, die, and kill for their independence. With war comes, death, destruction, inhumaties like rape, murder, theft and that’s just the norms of war. Not much I bet.

              America is a prime example. The country has a fool for its president and senate full of like minded liars, republicans of course. Trump has been on his knees since he was a kid.He talks big as long as he can blame somebody else for his failures. George Bush was president 2001-2009, he was bad, but he was not a traitor. Think, the republicans have been sowing the seeds of mistrust in the US government for along time now. Why? Taxes? BS! Regulations? Please. Do you know how many of you are employed because of regulations? They, the republicans, have made you hate yourselves, the people in the United States are the government, well, until Republicans take control. Maybe, abortion, you think is your driving cause, because of your belief in God. So you have decide you really don’t believe in the constitution cause you want congress to force your religion on other people. How about mind your own business. “first remove the speck from your eye”, tend to your family, tend to your life, don’t you have enough on your plate.

              Hm, distrust the US government, well, how about the US release this virus cause trump thought he could drive the Chinese into a trade deal of his ideology. That’s what the Chinese say. You know trump is not even close to understanding science, so he figured it would stay in china or so a story could be told. Why would you believe anything he says? You know now, for sure I hope, that if trump is talking he is telling a lie.

              Good grief, it’s time to remind yourself, you are the government. Don’t like the way things are going, why would you fire a small fish. If that’s your thought, you think like a CEO. fire the people that make the product, which is sold, which actually brings in money, don’t fire the CEO that made the decision to sell the wrong product, or who chose the wrong marketing concept. Tim comes to mind. Birds of a feather. fire the CEO, that could save the company 10’s of million in one swift cut. Goodyear needs to do that.

            2. What are you talking about Trump releasing a virus in China because of a trade war? How about China releasing the virus to grab the entire world by the balls? Don’t believe me? Head down to your local Target or Walmart and let me know what you see. Head down again after six months and let me know what you think. Even worse, wait til you or your loved one is in the ICU and there is a shortage of antibiotics. See how much China is charging for drugs 2, 4 and 6 months from now. Trump released this virus because he doesn’t understand science? Maybe China release this virus and you don’t understand geopolitics and communist China’s bloodlust.

            3. How about both of you recognize that this is a natural disease that just happened to cross to human beings in China, just like H1N1 crossed to human beings in the US.

        2. Tim Cook’s letter is addressed to Apple employees.

          I believe that Greater China is region defined in Apple’s financials as consisting of China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. It a corporate defined region , not a real political entity.

          Taiwan’s full name is Republic of China, Taiwan
          China is People’s Republic of China

          Here is a quote from a site on one of Apple’s financial quarters.

          Business insider

          “ Greater China — which includes mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan —generated just over $8.8 billion of revenue during the holiday quarter, and grew almost 30% compared to the same period last year. China is now the fastest growing region for Apple in revenue terms. ‘

          1. Apple’s corporate definition of a region is partially dictated by politics. That means… dictated by China. I understand that Apple must bow to China’s will for business purposes. But, that doesn’t mean that China is part of Taiwan. Taiwan… we are independent!

            1. I never said said Taiwan is (politically) part of China.

              But both countries do refer themselves as ‘China’

              Wikipedia
              Taiwan,[II] officially the Republic of China (ROC),[I] is a state in East Asia.[14][15][16] Neighboring states include the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the north-west,

      2. Taiwan’s official name is “Republic of China” whereas Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland are part of the “People’s Republic of China”

        China refers to the area… just like “America” can refer to the United States of America, Canada and Mexico ( North America ), or Peru ( South America ).

        If Apple closed all stores outside of the ‘Greater’ Americas, it would include dozens of countries.

        1. This may be true. But, do not be deceived by China or Apple. Apple’s decision to keep Apple stores in Taiwan open is a kowtow to China and has nothing to do with the spread of the virus. It is a political smear campaign against the freedom and independence of Taiwan and Taiwanese. China’s negative influence and tentacles exert over WHO, UN, Apple, other businesses, nations and even map publishers. Maybe China is part of “Greater Taiwan.” But, Taiwan is NOT China. Thank you for your support of Taiwan!

          1. Apple’s main contractor in China is Foxconn which is Taiwanese owned. CEO of Foxconn Terry Gou ran for president of Taiwan

            What I’m saying is stop this Apple ‘kowtow to China and disrespect Taiwan’ stuff. Top Taiwanese like Gou work with China a lot as well.

            1. Stuff? It isn’t just “stuff” if you are Taiwanese. Regarding Terry – yeh, he thought about running but dropped out. The Taiwanese freely and democratically re-elected a pro-independence president instead. That isn’t “stuff.” That is real. Thank you.

            2. Yes, Apple (and other entities) bow to China. Apple, being an American company, has the right and freedom to listen to and follow Communist Chinese demands.

            3. @Taiwan stuff

              What I’m getting at is that you keep picking on Apple about China; that Apple is Kowtowing etc

              Maybe Taiwanese should look at their own Top businessmen like Gou who are also doing business or ‘kowtowing’ as you put it to China?

              Do you dare to say that there not many many Taiwanese companies like Foxconn who are making huge amounts of money in China? Gou is a billionaire. That many Taiwanese are very very close to red China’s leadership like way closer than Tim Cook?

              Taiwanese companies in China like Foxconn with hundreds of thousands of workers in Mainland China, have way more investment in China than Apple

              Maybe you should ask a Taiwanese companies to stop ‘kowtowing’ before pulling Apple into it

            4. @ Taiwan Stuff

              Get a grip dude.

              Like I said Taiwanese companies have a LOT more investments in China than Apple, i.e in your parlance kowtowing.

              South China Morning Post:

              ““Taiwan firms’ exports account for at least 10 per cent of total Chinese exports, and 37 Taiwanese firms operating in China are in the top 100 exporters’ list to US,”

              BBC
              “Taiwanese companies have invested about $60bn (£40bn) in China, and up to one million Taiwanese now live there, many running Taiwanese factories.”

              So it’s OK for Taiwan to (in your words) kowtow to China but hey Apple can’t do business there?

              The Taiwanese didn’t kiss massive china butt to open factories that employ hundreds of thousands of China workers ? I doubt they spend their time criticizing Xi, they seem perfectly happy living under China’s dictates.

              So if you’re Taiwanese, maybe look at your own companies first before criticizing Apple which comes from a different country and is not involved in Taiwan/China politics. Shoot, which Taiwan should Apple follow, the ones that love china and want to be part of it (like those one million Taiwanese in China) or the independent ones ?

              Dude I’ve visited Hong Kong , Taiwan, Singapore , Japan, malaysia etc. I’ve worked before in Asia for 10 years. Don’t B.S me.

            5. @Taiwan Stuff

              I don’t mind supporting Taiwan.

              But i hate it when you all criticize Apple for innocuous things especially as I pointed out there are one million Taiwanese in China owning hundreds of companies there, making 10% of China’s exports.

          2. Apple is keeping the Taipei stores open because they don’t dare cross China. I think that is easy to see and understand.

      3. Hong Kong and Macau are NOT part of Greater China. They are part of the People’s Republic of China, which is the political area.

        Greater China isn’t an actual legal term, so it can be interpreted by the PRC to include Taiwan, and can be interpreted by Taiwan to be the two different countries with the word China in their name.

        Much the same as saying the “Greater New York” could include New Jersey, Conneticut and Pennsylvania,

    1. Taiwan has had some of the lowest infection rates in the world. China wasn’t sending tourists there because they weren’t swayed by the attempts by China to rig the Taiwanese election.

      Taiwan was also among the first countries to start scanning planes coming from Wuhan back in December.

      As such, there’s really no need to close the stores.

      1. Thank you for your positive comments about Taiwan! We have done our best to fight off the Wuhan virus mostly on our own. China blocks our membership in The WHO. Under China’s overt instruction, the WHO blocks support to Taiwan. China has withheld support, medical information, virus details from Taiwan. We are fighting this on our own. So far, so good! The memories and lessons learned from SARS are still fresh in our minds and hearts. We will cooperate with our government and with each other to fight the Wuhan virus. To be clear; our Apple stores can remain open NOT because of anything China did or is doing. Our stores can remain open because we are working hard and sacrificing on our own. Thank you for your support of Taiwan! We are Taiwanese!

    2. Greater China, in this case, is similar to saying “The British Isles” which would include the separate country the Republic of Ireland. Since Taiwan’s official name is “Republic of China” it still works.

      Yes, the People’s Republic of China is a different country… and yes, Tim Cook could have said the “Republic of China” as well as the “People’s Republic of China” but saying “Greater China”

      Another comparison might be “The Greater Los Angeles Area” which would include Orange County as well as Los Angeles County. Those are separately governed areas.

      The “Metropolitian Area of NY” includes New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania despite those being separate states.

      Using “Greater China” was a pretty smart move as it doesn’t piss off the CCP and doesn’t explicitly say that Taiwan is part of China.

  2. The closing of the stores needs to be in conjunction with community closings to help establish COMMUNITY isolation. It also needs some time to work out the details, and Apple appears to have done a pretty good job thinking about taking care of their employees – I don’t know of another company taking care of their employees better

  3. I believe retail and grocery is a key vector through which the corona virus will spread. I was in a grocery store in LA the other day, with huge lines, and the security guard at the door kept coughing into his arm . . . For the sake of argument, let’s say he has corona virus. Many security guards don’t have health insurance, and if they do, it usually has a large copay or deductible. So just to “check” if he has it, will require him to pay . . . the President made an announcement that in a week or 2 they will have drive up tests . . . how many people will the security guard have coughed on in that week? — likely thousands . . . until we have free corona virus tests that are readily available to the retail and grocery store workers, we’re not going to understand how widespread this is.

    1. Schools with need them too, with a on site nurse at each school instead of the one nurse 3-5 schools that is done these days, also the CDC and EPA need their budget back are you there orange fellow?….

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