Apple is closing its bricks-and-mortar retail stores across the globe indefinitely “to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission”.
Over 450 stores across 25 countries will be shut “until further notice”, according to a blogpost published by the tech giant yesterday.
While Apple’s 42 stores and offices in China were officially shut on February 1, these reopened on Friday March 13 and will be the only sites in the world to continue trading.
On Friday Apple announced that it was closing all of its stores outside of China until March 27, however an updated blogpost yesterday said they will remain closed indefinitely, suggesting the retailer expects further disruption to its operations in the coming months.
Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said in the blogpost that he had learned lessons from shutting stores in China.
“One of those lessons is that the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance,” he said.
“As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we’re taking additional steps to protect our team members and customers”.
Customers have been advised to shop for items online or by telephone, although during the closure of Apple’s stores in China it sold fewer than half a million iPhones during February, as the outbreak of coronavirus saw demand for smartphones plummet.
The company also said on Friday that it was committed to paying all its workers as if stores were remaining open, while expanding its leave policies to “accommodate personal or family health circumstances created by COVID-19.”