Apple reopens 25 more U.S. stores, will soon top 100 worldwide this week

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.

Apple reopens 25 more U.S. stores, will soon top 100 worldwide this week
Apple reopens 25 more U.S. stores, will soon top 100 worldwide this week

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.

Deirdre

15 Comments

  1. Too soon! Keep everything (and everyone) locked up tight until November 4th. Come on guys, just six more months. If we can save just ONE life, it would be worth it!

    1. I think we can do without the sarcasm. Apple is being cautious, as everyone should be. Nobody denies that we need to reopen, but everybody wants to avoid a second wave and another 90,000 dead. That requires a thoughtful approach… like Apple, not like the idiots swarming bars as if they were immortal.

      1. Many people ask how some can be so obsessed with quarantine and how they can get so psychotic about closing everything down. There’s a reason why it’s impossible to figure out their rationale, it’s because it’s irrational.

        Doomers aren’t actually tying to “save lives” as they so smugly try to say, they’re addicted to the dopamine hit they get from feeling morally justified. The COVID-19 media coverage, and the rationale used to justify lock downs is based entirely on fear and emotion. Doomers grab ahold of this fear and feel like they are being superheroes for calling the cops on business owners, neighbors, and posting shrilling takes on social media about how evil people are for wanting to go back to work.

        Recently the Chief Medical Officer of Pennsylvania’s UPMC has called for an end to the lockdowns and said “Our outcomes are similar to the state of Pennsylvania, where the median age of death from COVID-19 is 84 years old. The few younger patients who died all had significant preexisting conditions.” Rather than the logical take away from this kind of information, which is that we should take steps to protect the elderly and infirm, but there is clearly no logic to keeping literally everyone locked down when the virus has little effect on most American, the doomers will tell you that you want to kill old people just for money, which literally nobody is saying. Amazingly, these same doomers have nothing to say about Gov. Andrew Cuomo forcing COVID patients into nursing homes, which invariably killed A LOT of people.

        Doomers are obsessed with feeling moral, patting themselves on the back, and ultimately feeling like they are better than you. A lot of progressive thinking is built off the idea that those who agree are part of some intellectual nobility. They flaunt their points as if anyone who disagrees doesn’t have the cognitive ability of understanding the “experts” like they do, the same “experts” who have been less reliable than a local news station’s weatherman (see The Religion of Global Warming or Climate Change or whatever their calling their model-driven crap this decade). They are addicted to the dopamine rush they get from feeling like they are part of some ultra-intelligent group who gets to preach to the luddites and unwashed masses who happen to be composed of their friends, family, and neighbors.

        There’s a common theme among the doomers. Every person I have spoken to who is clutching their pearls and shaming anyone who dares think about going back to work is still working. The people who are the most committed to keeping everyone hiding under their beds from COVID are those who are the least affected. The reason why you feel like you’re taking crazy pills trying to figure out how these people are so committed to this idiocy is because they aren’t, it is all about them feeling superior, and part of the intellectual nobility, it isn’t actually about COVID or saving lives.

      2. Every book and article on the 1918 pandemic emphasizes how important it is for the government to tell the truth and not lie.

        The UPMC medical officer said that relaxing the lockdown (while maintaining social distancing) would be appropriate in Western Pennsylvania, where there are few infections and abundant medical resources. He fully supported the lockdown in Philadelphia and other areas where that is not the case.

        https://inside.upmc.com/yealy-shapiro-senate-testimony/

        In other words, he advised a careful, fact-based, and science-based approach to relaxing the lockdown that is tailored to each locality. It is not being a “doomer” to support that approach,

          1. And when did you acquire the “right” to blow a virus into my face because you are too vain to wear a mask and too insensitive to keep out of my personal space?

            I wish the quarantine orders weren’t necessary, just as I wish the DUI laws weren’t necessary. Sadly, there are folks with no common sense who will threaten the rest of us if they are left to their own questionable judgment.

            1. It’s a common refrain: We have bubble-wrapped the world. Americans in particular are obsessed with “safety.” The simplest way to get any law passed in America, be it a zoning law or a sweeping reform of the intelligence community, is to invoke a simple sentence: “A kid might get hurt.”

              Almost no one is opposed to reasonable efforts at making the world a safer place. But the operating word here is “reasonable.” Banning lawn darts, for example, rather than just telling people that they can be dangerous when used by unsupervised children, is a perfect example of a craving for safety gone too far.

              Beyond the realm of legislation, this has begun to infect our very culture. Think of things like “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces.” These are part of broader cultural trends in search of a kind of “emotional safety” – a purported right to never be disturbed or offended by anything. This is by no means confined to the sphere of academia, but is also in our popular culture, both in “extremely online” and more mainstream variants.

              Why are Americans so obsessed with safety? What is the endgame of those who would bubble wrap the world, both physically and emotionally? Perhaps most importantly, what can we do to turn back the tide and reclaim our culture of self-reliance, mental toughness, and giving one another the benefit of the doubt so that we don’t “bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security,” as President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about?Sam Jacobs

            2. If you were born before 1985 or so, your childhood was vastly different than of those born after you. As a child, you probably came and went as you pleased, letting your parents know where you were going, who you would be with and when you might be home. You rode your bike without a helmet and if you were bullied at school there’s a good chance that you view this as a character-building experience, not one of deep emotional trauma.

              So what happened?

              A few things. First, in 1984, the “missing child” milk carton was introduced. America became obsessed with child abduction in response to several high-profile child kidnappings over the period of a few years. Etan Platz, Adam Walsh and Johnny Gosch are just three of the names known to Americans during this time period. In September 1984, the Des Moines, Iowa-based Anderson Erickson Dairy began printing the pictures of Johnny Gosch and Eugene Martin on milk cartons. Chicago followed suit, then the entire state of California. In December 1984, a nationwide program was launched to keep the faces of abducted children front and center in the American mind.

              The milk cartons didn’t find many kids, but they did create the panic of “stranger danger,” where children were taught to fear strangers even though the lion’s share of child abduction, molestation and abuse comes from friends, family and other trusted figures such as public school teachers or camp counselors. Most missing children in America are runaways and in 99 percent of all child abductions, the perpetrator is a non-custodial father. There is at least one case of “stranger danger” being harmful – a lost 11-year-old Boy Scout who thought his rescuers were looking to kidnap him.

              Some of the protocols established out of this were useful, such as AMBER Alerts and Code Adam. Awareness of child abduction in general was raised and as a result there’s significantly fewer child abductions today than there were in 1980. Indeed, stranger abduction is incredibly rare in the United States. But this has come with a dark side.

              You might be familiar with the myriad of cases in suburban America where children playing alone are arrested by the police because they don’t have adult supervision. The parents are then questioned by the police or, in some cases, the state’s Child Protective Services.

              There was also the panic after the mass shooting at Columbine High School, which led to the bubble wrapping of schools alongside the home. “Zero tolerance” policies were implemented alongside school-wide peanut butter bans.

              And so the result is that there are at least two generations of American children raised in a protective net so tight that they not only have trouble expressing themselves, but also being exposed to failure and discomfort. What began as a good-faith effort to prevent child abduction and increase overall child welfare has ended up, as a side effect, creating a world where children were raised in such safety that they can’t even handle being upset.

              This has not only insulated children from the consequences of their own actions and the normal pains of growing up, but also gives the impression that no matter what their problems, “adults” are ready to step in and save the day at any moment.

              It’s worth noting that, in recent years, there has been a sharp rise in mental illness among young people, both on campus and off, including those with severe mental health problems. — Sam Jacobs

            3. Social media makes it easier for extremes to amplify their anger. What’s more, it’s much easier for people to become part of an online crusade – or witch hunt – than it is for them to do so without it.

              This is a big part of what is behind the string of disinvitations and protests on American college campuses. No one, especially young people (where “young” means “under 30”), can bear to listen to the opinions of someone they don’t agree with. Disinvitations aren’t limited to highly controversial figures like MILO and Richard Spencer, or even the decidedly much more vanilla Ann Coulter. Condoleeza Rice, the first black female Secretary of State, was disinvited in 2014, as was the first female head of the IMF and the first female finance minister of a G8 nation, Christine Lagarde.

              Because Americans increasingly refuse even to listen to arguments from the other side, inserting instead a strawman in favor of reasoned debate, there is no reason to believe that the American political and ideological divide will not increase.Sam Jacobs

            4. America and the West have largely adopted a victimhood culture. It is worth taking a minute to trace this radical transformation of values in the West from its origins.

              The earliest societies in the West were honor cultures. While it sounds like a no-brainer that we should return to an honor culture, we should unpack precisely what this means. An honor culture usually means a lot of interpersonal violence. Small slights must be dealt with through dead violence – because a gentleman cannot take any kind of stain on his honor. Dueling and blood feuds are common in these kinds of cultures.

              This is superseded by dignity culture. Dignity culture is different, because people are presumed to have dignity regardless of what others think of them. In a dignity culture, people are admired because they have a “thick skin” and are able to brush off slights even if they are seriously insulting. While we might find ourselves offended, even rightfully so, it is considered important to rise above the offense and conduct ourselves with dignity. Everyone heard some variant of “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” growing up as a child. This is perhaps the key phrase of a dignity culture.

              Victimhood culture is concerned with status in a similar manner to honor culture. Indeed, people become incredibly intolerant of any kind of perceived slight, much in the manner of an honor culture. However, in a victimhood culture, it is being offended, taking offense, and being a victim that provides one with status.

              Victimhood culture means that people are divided into classes, where victims are good and oppressors are bad. There is an eternal conflict with eternal grievances that can never fully be corrected or atoned for. People feel the need to constantly walk on eggshells and censor themselves. This leads to an overall emphasis on safety, as even words become “violence” – we need trigger warnings and safe spaces to protect us.

              Victimhood culture is closely associated with safety culture. Safety culture is, above all else, debilitating. Those who choose a marginalized identity – and in the contemporary West, a marginalized identity is almost always a choice – become more fragile and more dependent on the broader society. At the same time, the powerful elements in society gain a stake in reinforcing this marginalized identity. The Great Society provides a case study in this dynamic.

              Those who do not receive the so-called “benefits” of safety culture are frequently more prepared for the real world. Who would you rather hire? Someone who studied hard in a rigorous discipline for four years or someone who spent four years being coddled in what is basically a day care center for twentysomethings? With this in mind, it’s not too big of a leap to see that straight white men might actually have become “privileged” through the process of not having access to the collective hugbox in higher education.Sam Jacobs

            5. In 2020, the Wuhan Coronavirus broke out of China and spread all around the world. The world had not seen a deadly, contagious virus with such scope since the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 to 1920. At first, the response was denial and apathy. However, this quickly gave way to what could be considered a massive overreaction: Shutting everything down.

              There was a certain logic to this: If people gathering together were what was spreading the virus, then simply keep people apart until the whole thing blows over. However, this is also potentially a huge overreaction. It is a medical solution in the driver’s seat without any nod to the economic, social or military consequences that flow from it. Even if one agrees that medical solutions are to be the primary driver, it does not follow that they are the only driver.

              Because of the lopsided and often hysterical reaction, many of the proposed solutions don’t even make sense: For example, telling everyone they can go to the supermarket while prohibiting them from going to small offices, or shutting down the border between the United States and Canada – two countries with highly infected populations and a sprawling border that is largely unpatrolled.Sam Jacobs

            6. The reaction to this virus is noteworthy, because it is the first major pandemic of this new, insulated and coddled age. Rather than reasonable measures to mitigate death, the choice made was to do anything and everything possible to prevent death entirely. Not only might this be an unwise decision, it might be a fool’s errand: The virus seems to be much more contagious than was previously thought, as well as much less lethal.

              More than one reasonable person has asked what would happen if we all just went about our lives making reasonable precautions, such as hand washing, mask wearing, social distancing, and the cancellation of large events like sports and concerts. This is effectively what Sweden has done and it appears to work, especially when contrasted with their neighbors in Finland who have done basically the same as America. How much sense does it make to have the entire community converge upon its grocery stores while not allowing anyone to go into an office, ever? Compare this with what has passed for reasonable reaction: Closing down every school, every dine-in restaurant, and the government dictating which businesses are essential and which aren’t.

              A big motivator of this is a compulsion to not lose a single life to the Wuhan Coronavirus, which is a totally unreasonable goal. People are going to die. The question isn’t “how tightly do we have to lock the country down to ensure no one dies,” but rather “what are reasonable measures we can take to balance public safety against personal choice and social cohesion?”Sam Jacobs

            7. What Is Vindictive Protectiveness?

              “Vindictive protectiveness” was a term coined by Haidt and Lukianoff to describe the environment on America’s college campuses with regard to speech codes and similar. However, it can refer more broadly to the cultural atmosphere in the United States and the West today. From the college campus to the corporate boardroom to the office, Americans have to watch what they say and maybe even what they think lest they fall afoul of extra-legal speech and thought codes.

              Perhaps worst of all, an entire generation is being raised to see this not only as normal, but as beneficial. This means that as this generation comes of age and grows into leadership positions, that there is a significant chance that these codes will be enforced more rigorously, not less. And while there may be ebbs and flows (political correctness went into hibernation for pretty much the entire administration of George W. Bush – though to be fair, there was an imperfect replacement in the form of post-9/11 jingoism), the current outrage factory is much more concerning than the one that sort of just hung around in the background in the 1990s.

              Put plainly: the next wave will be worse. We may not have Maoist-style Red Guards in America quite yet, but we’re not far off and the emphasis should be on “yet.” — Sam Jacobs

              I highly recommend that everyone read The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt (September 4, 2018).

              It explains the mentality of TxUser types perfectly.

            8. You posted this manifesto before. Was completely off the point then. Still is. Nobody outside a Trumpist’s fevered dreams is advocating a complete shutdown of the economy until it is perfectly safe to proceed. That does not mean that we should open things up without taking reasonable precautions. While you lot have been trumpeting this as no big deal, 90,000 Americans have died.

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