Covid-19: Apple maps out store reopening plan

Consumer electronics brand Apple will provide face masks to customers, and it will focus on curb-side product pick-up, and a one-to-one Genius Bar-style service when it reopens its stores that were temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 coronavirus.

In a letter to customers on Sunday (17 May), Deirdre O'Brien, Apple's senior vice president of retail and people, mapped out how the company will reopen stores in the coming months as virus lockdown measures are lifted around the world.

“You’ll find the same helpful, dedicated teams that were there before we closed, but things may look and feel a little different,” she explained.

“For one thing, you'll find yourself with plenty of space.”

Apple is focused on limiting occupancy and giving all visitors “lots of room”, while the Genius Bar-style service will be offered throughout its stores. Face masks will be worn by staff, and issued to customers who don’t bring their own.

“We’ve also taken this time to consider how we can serve our customers’ needs even more effectively, whether online or in our stores,” O’Brien noted.

“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.”

Customer temperature checks will be conducted at the door, and “enhanced deep cleanings” – including a special emphasis on all surfaces, display products, and highly trafficked areas – will take place every day, she explained.

Apple’s Greater China stores were the first to close as the virus impacted that country earlier in 2020, but O’Brien said stores there “have been safely open for months”, and are following the new hygeine measures.

Commenting on how Apple will analyse where to open stores and when, O’Brien said: “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.”

She added: “The response to Covid-19 is still ongoing, and we recognise that the road back will have its twists and turns.”

Customers can use the 'Find a Store' search tool on their localised Apple website to understand when their closest shop has reopened.

Read the full letter from O’Brien, here.