This Sunday, Apple announced they company plans to reopen more than 25 of its U.S. Apple Retail Stores continuing a gradual process that has opened nearly a fifth of its worldwide retail outlets.
Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s head of retail, wrote on Sunday in a note on the company’s website, “Our commitment is to reopen our stores when we are confident the environment is safe.”
Last week, Apple reopened its first five stores in the United States, requiring customers and employees to undergo temperature checks and wear masks before entering the premises.
Apple has 510 stores worldwide and 271 in the United States.
Here’s O’Brien’s letter in full:
May 17, 2020
To our customers,
Since we first began responding and adapting to COVID‑19 in January, Apple has let care drive our decision‑making: care for our teams, care for our customers and care for our communities.
That has meant being there for our customers as they depend on our products in new ways: to stay learning as classrooms closed, to stay connected as we have stayed apart, to stay creative at a time when we all need some entertainment, and to stay healthy at a time when health is so front of mind.
It’s also meant stepping up in new ways to support the public health response, including Apple’s efforts to source more than 30 million masks and 10 million custom‑built face shields for doctors and nurses, our work to design software to help users check symptoms and to help health workers notify those who may have been exposed, and our partnership with manufacturers in the United States to deploy more than a million testing kits per week.
And it meant taking the unprecedented step to close nearly all of our Retail stores worldwide to protect the health and well‑being of our customers and teams.
As of today, nearly 100 of our stores globally have been able to open their doors to our customers again. We wanted to share a bit about how we’re carrying forward our commitment to care: how it’s informing our decision‑making, the significant steps we’re taking to keep everyone who visits one of our stores safe, and the ways in which our stores will look a little different.
Our approach to reopening our stores
First, let’s remember how we got here. In China, and later around the world, we were one of the first companies to close our stores. In Greater China, we saw the importance of swift action — and the critical importance of social distance — to slow the virus’ spread. And, as time has gone on, we’ve continued to refine and expand our in‑store health and safety measures, which have proven so effective in places like Greater China, where our stores have been safely open for months.
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.
When a store in your area does take this step to reopen — which you can check up on using the Find a Store search tool — you’ll find the same helpful, dedicated teams that were there before we closed, but things may look and feel a little different. For one thing, you’ll find yourself with plenty of space.
In every store, we’re focused on limiting occupancy and giving everybody lots of room, and renewing our focus on one‑on‑one, personalized service at the Genius Bar and throughout the store.
We’re also taking some additional steps in most places. Face coverings will be required for all of our teams and customers, and we will provide them to customers who don’t bring their own. Temperature checks will be conducted at the door, and posted health questions will screen for those with symptoms — like cough or fever — or who have had recent exposure to someone infected with COVID‑19. Throughout the day, we’re conducting enhanced deep cleanings that place special emphasis on all surfaces, display products, and highly trafficked areas.
We’ve also taken this time to consider how we can serve our customers’ needs even more effectively, whether online or in our stores. For many stores, that will mean curb‑side pick‑up and drop off. If you choose to buy online, we can ship to your home or make your new items available for convenient pick‑up at our stores. And you can continue to find the same excellent standard of customer service and support online and over the phone to help you with any questions you might have.
The road ahead
The response to COVID‑19 is still ongoing, and we recognize that the road back will have its twists and turns. But whatever challenges lie ahead, COVID‑19 has only reinforced our faith in people — in our teams, in our customers, in our communities. Down the road, when we reflect on COVID‑19, we should always remember how so many people around the world put the well‑being of others at the center of their daily lives. At Apple, we plan to carry those values forward, and we will always put the health and safety of our customers and teams above all else.
Thank you for all you’re doing to support the COVID‑19 response — whether that’s volunteering, donating, sharing gratitude for our medical workers, or maintaining social distance to protect the health of our communities.
Stay well, stay safe, and we hope to see you soon.