In case you needed another indication that covid-19, fueled by the newest omicron variant, is spreading like wildfire in some parts of the U.S., all you need to do is to check to see if Apple Stores are open. In New York City on Monday, they were not.
Apple partially closed all seven of its stores in New York City on Monday, Reuters reported, due to an increase in covid-19 cases. In a news conference on Monday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state had reported 26,000 daily positive cases on Sunday, but considered the number was vastly underestimated due to decreased testing over the holiday weekend.
Hochul added that she expected the number to increase by up to 20,000 cases or more by the time Tuesday’s numbers came in.
Apple confirmed to Gizmodo on Monday that the stores were open for pickup only, meaning that customers could still order a product online and pick it up at the store.
“We regularly monitor conditions and we will adjust both our health measures and store services to support the wellbeing of customers and employees,” the company said in an emailed statement. “We remain committed to a comprehensive approach for our teams that combines regular testing with daily health checks, employee and customer masking, deep cleaning and paid sick leave.”
The Apple Stores in New York City were purportedly not the only ones closed on Monday. According to the New York Times, about 20 of the company’s stores were closed across the country. Some closed because employees had become sick with covid-19, the outlet stated, and there were not enough healthy employees left to keep the stores open. Meanwhile, others were apparently closed as a precautionary measure to keep employees and customers safe.
Gizmodo reached out to Apple to confirm the Times’ report but did not receive a response by the time of publication. We’ll make sure to update this article if we hear back.
Monitoring Apple Store closures has become an unconventional indicator of the severity of the pandemic, as the company has been quick to respond to rising cases and regularly closes its locations if it determines it’s not safe.
The U.S. is currently reporting 198,404 covid-19 cases per day, CNN reported, the highest number of cases since Jan. 19.