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Apple closed all of its China stores in early February over Covid-19 concerns. In early March, when the country recorded its first single-digit rise in infections since it started recording numbers, the company reopened all 42 of its branded stores in China.
In mid-March, Apple said it would be closing all of its retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27 as a response to Covid-19’s spread around the world, but that date was changed to “until further notice.” It did reopen a single store in South Korea but never said anything about its plans for other outlets.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Cook said Apple intends to open retail stores in Australia, where it has more than 20 outlets, and its single store in Austria within the next one to two weeks. The CEO also believes “just a few, not a large number” of stores will reopen in the US in the first half of May.
Cook said Apple is “going to look at the data and make a decision city by city, county by county, depending on the circumstances in that particular place.”
Cook’s comments echo those of Apple retail chief Deirdre O’Brien, who previously informed staff that she is aiming to reopen “many” outlets in May.
The Apple boss added that the company’s main Cupertino campus wouldn’t open until at least early June, and it would be on a staggered basis. It will use temperature checks, social distancing, and masks to protect workers. The company is also looking into Covid-19 testing for employees.
The news that Apple stores could soon be open will be welcomed by those who handed devices in for repair and never picked them up in time; they have to wait until the outlets reopen to retrieve them.