Apple planning for ‘staggered’ reopening of retail stores based on local conditions

As the global coronavirus situation changes day by day, Apple is making tentative plans to begin reopening some of its temporarily shuttered retail stores outside of Greater China. In a message obtained by 9to5Mac, Apple’s SVP of Retail + People Deirdre O’Brien outlined a strategy to retail team members that will begin in April.

Apple closed the majority of its 510 retail stores on March 13th following deteriorating public health due to the coronavirus outbreak. The company originally planned to begin reopening stores by March 27th, but rapidly changing conditions necessitated extended closures.

O’Brien’s message to store teams notes that Apple now anticipates some stores may be able to reopen in the first half of April. Local conditions will be assessed on a store-by-store basis to ensure the safety of team members and customers.

As the epicenter of new coronavirus cases shifts west, it’s unlikely that Apple Stores within the U.S. will be among the first to open. Other regions with Apple Stores like Singapore have seen vastly lower case numbers. Public spaces in less impacted areas are more likely to open first with an abundance of caution.

In Greater China where all Apple Stores have reopened, extensive safety measures have been enacted, like temperature checks prior to entering the store, controlled entrances, and reduced capacity. O’Brien notes that resources have been made available to help retail team members learn how to stay healthy and set up a comfortable workspace.

Read the full memo below:

Team,

First and foremost, I want to say thank you to our teams — all our teams, across every office, every store and every country — for pulling together and supporting one another during an unprecedented time. COVID-19 has changed many things, but it has not changed who we are: a collaborative and focused team that puts people at the center of everything we do.

The same values that define us as a company are helping us through the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and response. To that end, I want to provide some updates.

— I want to recognize our teams in Greater China, where the ongoing response to COVID-19 is still a part of everyday life. All of our Retail stores and offices have reopened with all the necessary measures in place. It’s wonderful to have our teams there back together again.

— In all our offices outside of Greater China, we are extending flexible work arrangements for all team members — outside of those whose work requires them to be onsite — through at least April 5, which will then be evaluated weekly depending on your location.

— For all of our Retail stores outside of Greater China, we will reopen our stores on a staggered basis. At this time, we anticipate some stores may be able to open in the first half of April depending on the conditions in their community. We will provide updates for each store as soon as specific dates are established. We can’t wait to welcome our teams and customers back.

COVID-19 affects every community and every team differently, so moving forward, our teams will get new updates from their local leaders. Around the world, we’re putting the health of our teams, customers and communities first. As always, you can check the dedicated page on the People site for the latest information. And if you have any questions, please work with your managers, People Business Partners or contact People Support.

There are a lot of resources for our Apple teams to take advantage of — like how to set up a great home workspace, and tips on staying healthy, mind and body. We’ve also created leave policies to help our teams who have to take time off due to illness, or to care for a child or loved one affected by the outbreak.

I’m so inspired by how our teams have been putting the Apple spirit of innovation to the task of working together while working remotely. And I’m immensely proud of our efforts to support the COVID-19 response: from our two-to-one match of employee contributions, to the millions of dollars and millions of vital masks we’ve committed to help patients, researchers, first responders and families around the world.

Thank you for the resilience, empathy and support you continue to demonstrate for our colleagues and customers. I know all of us are sending our very best wishes to our Apple team members and their families who are directly affected by COVID-19.

Deirdre

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