Apple closes all stores outside mainland China

A full closure of all Apple shops and stores outside of China will now kick in for two weeks. This is happening immediately, and they not reopen until March 27th. It comes as the spread of coronavirus continues, with countries closing borders, stopping flights and going onto lock-down in order to slow the spread and to protect health services.

CEO Tim Cook this morning confirmed the drastic measures, with “additional steps” to protect its employees, who will continue to be paid.

In a statement to the press, Mr Cook stated..

The most effective way to minimise risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximise 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.

Extensive, deep cleaning will continue at all sites. In all our offices, we are rolling out new health screenings and temperature checks. Offices will instead move to flexible work arrangements worldwide, with many working remotely if possible.

In addition to being paid, Apple staff will also see enhanced personal protection ..

..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.”

All stores in Greater China are open, which is a positive sign after the country was ravaged by the virus. Apple customers will still be able to access support online.

The announcement comes after Apple saw sales hit by the effects of the virus. This is due to the closure of Chinese factories and stores..