With the rising of COVID-19 cases in the United States and Apple requiring its employees to wear masks in store again, a new story by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman shows that Apple closed a store after 20 employees were exposed to COVID.
The only Apple Store available in Charleston, South Carolina, is now closed after more than 20 staff members were exposed to COVID-19.
The store’s website shows it will be closed until next week, with a sign on the front of the location also alerting customers to the shutdown. Stores of the Charleston location’s size typically have 70 to 80 staff members, suggesting that about a quarter of employees were exposed.
With the course of the pandemic, Apple has opened and closed stores as COVID cases emerged and went by. By the end of June, the company was able to open all of the 511 Apple Stores globally in some capacity, although many were still offering in-store shopping and browsing without an appointment.
According to 9to5Mac’s Michael Steeber, 2020 was a whirlwind of store closures, reopenings, new service models, and cycle after cycle of closing and reopening again — up to four times for one store. Every Apple Store had reopened at least once by October 25, 2020, but never at any point was the entire fleet operational. Every location in the US was simultaneously open on March 1, 2021.
In Brazil, for example, with COVID cases consistently dropping, Apple reopened both of its stores, and there’s no requirement for appointments to buy from its physical stores anymore.
According to the Bloomberg report, Apple retail stores across the US have “shortened their operating hours, partly because of COVID but also due to the tight labor market.” Almost all 270 retail stores in the US are open now.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.
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