Apple says it will implement precautions it learned from stores in China and other international locations when it begins to reopen North American retail locations this week.
Apple says it will implement precautions it learned from stores in China and other international locations when it begins to reopen North American retail locations this week.
Photo: Getty

After closing all of its U.S. retail stores on March 13 due to covid-19, Apple will begin reopening Apple stores in North America this week, starting with four dozen locations in the U.S. in Canada.

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But for those who have been waiting to get their Apple device serviced or pick up something new to bolster their work-from-home setup, it’s important to know about the changes Apple is making to store guidelines in order to minimize the risks presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a post on its website, Apple vice president Deirdre O’Brien outlined several things the company is doing to combat covid-19 as it reopens its retail locations. The first big adjustment is limiting occupancy inside its stores to help people maintain social distancing and reduce the possibility of spreading the coronavirus. Apple employees will also routinely conduct deep cleanings throughout the day, with special attention given to high-traffic areas, popular products, and frequently touched surfaces.

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But perhaps the biggest change is that Apple will require all customers and employees to wear some sort of face covering before entering an Apple store. If you don’t have a mask or suitable covering, Apple says it will provide one for you. And as an added safety precaution, employees will also be conducting temperature checks at the door and will post health questions to screen for customers suffering from possible covid-19-related symptoms such as a cough or fever.

If you would prefer not to go inside an Apple store, Apple says that many locations will also offer curbside pickup and drop-off. For online orders, you’ll have the option to send your device to a nearby retail location for in-store pickup, or to have it delivered to your home.

Apple says it devised this plan by analyzing recent data and reports about covid-19, and using experience gleaned from international Apple stores in China and other countries, which in some places have been open for months after being initially shuttered in early February.

While O’Brien’s post doesn’t specifically state which of its North American locations will reopen, Bloomberg reports Apple will reopen more than 25 stores this week in the U.S. and 12 Canada, starting with stores in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Oklahoma, and Washington state. For a more detailed list on which Apple store might be open near you, your best bet is to check Apple’s online Find a Store tool.

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That said, just because Apple is starting to reopen its stores doesn’t mean you should immediately head over to your closest Genius Bar. O’Brien cautions that just because a store has reopened, that doesn’t preclude Apple from closing it again if needed based on local conditions or a nearby flare-up of covid-19 cases. As always, follow the guidelines and stay safe so Apple and other retailers can slowly work toward bringing things back to normal.

Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.

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