Ever since the COVID 19 outbreak, started Apple has been playing it safe by choosing to close down its retail stores in different countries at different times. First it closed down all its Apple stores in China where the deadly virus originated, and when the situation seemed to calm down in the country, it reopened all of its 42 retail stores there.
While it opened its Chinese Apple Stores, Apple CEO Tim Cook made an announcement last Friday, (March 13) that the company would be closing all its retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27. Apple had added a banner to its website homepage reading "Our retail stores are closed until March 27," following the announcement. However, the message in the banner has now been changed to "Our retail stores are closed until further notice," meaning that Apple stores will be closed indefinitely until the coronavirus situation improves or until when the deadly virus ends.
Apple Stores closed indefinitely
The banner seems to appear only on Apple's US website at least at the time of writing, so it's still unclear whether the indefinite closures apply to all retail stores outside of China.
Apple had shut down all of its retail stores outside of China for two weeks in an effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the US and other European countries such as Italy and Spain which have now become the hotbed of the deadly pandemic.
The company also published a FAQ regarding the issue on its website which answered key questions customers might have about repairs and returns during the closure period. Interestingly, Apple is yet to update this FAQ section as it still says that Apple stores will remain closed outside Greater China till March 27.
Closures in response to government's advice
It is possible that Apple's decision to close the stores indefinitely "until further notice" is in response to a guidance issued by the US government on March 16, suggesting the public avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
However, Apple which has been at the forefront of the tech world's fight against coronavirus, plans to continue paying its hourly workers even during the store closures. The company has also extended the leave policy of its employees to include personal and family health circumstances created by COVID-19. The indefinite closures may cause inconvenience to some customers, but the safety and health of the customer and employees are the top priority for Apple right now.