Apple is reopening some of its U.S. retail stores next week. The company closed most of its stores in March due to the coronavirus pandemic but has slowly been restoring operations in China and elsewhere as stay-at-home orders are eased. The first stores to reopen stateside will be located in Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska.
The in-store experience will be weird — According to a statement issued to 9to5Mac, Apple will be instituting new safety protocols at its stores, including temperature checks and limitations on the number of customers who can be inside the store at one time. Customers will be required to wear masks but apparently Apple will provide them to those without one. The company is recommending that customers continue to buy online for delivery and pick up as the new restrictions may slow down in-store assistance.
The right thing to do, if you absolutely feel you need to visit the Apple Store, is to respect the company's protocols. And don't go if you feel at all sick, or even have a cough. Even if you feel fine, store employees are putting themselves in harms way to serve those who feel they really need support with their gadgets.
The only store to announce its exact reopening time thus far is the Apple Store in Idaho's, Boise Towne Square, which will reopen on May 11th at 11 AM.
When is the right time? — The lifting of coronavirus measures has been a controversial one in the U.S., with state governors in Georgia and elsewhere receiving pushback for their decisions to reopen non-essential businesses like hairdressers even as reported coronavirus cases continue to rise in the country. Some workers and small business owners are struggling balancing the risk of going back to work with rising bills as their income has fallen to zero.
Apple for its part has continued to pay its retail employees their typical wages during the closures, and is also paying the contract janitors and bus drivers who work at its corporate offices.