Apple is set to reopen its retail stores in Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, and South Carolina next week. The vast majority of its stores outside of China have been closed for more than a month amid the coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement to CNBC, Apple said its decision was based on local health data and government guidance and that it felt, in specific areas, it was safe to reopen. A number of precautions will be taken, it said, to protect customers and employees, including temperature checks and limiting store capacity.
In late-February, Apple reopened most of its stores in China as covid-19 cases in the country plummeted.
“Our new social distance protocol allows for a limited number of visitors in the store at one time so there may be a delay for walk-in customers. We recommend, where possible, customers buy online for contactless delivery or in-store pick up,” Apple said in a statement, per CNBC.
The reopenings will be welcome news for some Apple customers who may have dropped off their devices for repairs earlier in the year but were unable to retrieve them after stores were shuttered in March. The company said the reopened stores would focus primarily on repairs.
Apple, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, did not disclose any further plans for re-openings at this time.
As with most retailers, Apple took a serious financial hit due to the shelter-in-place orders around the world. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook told investors it began to see a resurgence in sales in the second half of April. According to CNBC, Cook credited stimulus packages and the rise of remote workers.
More than 1.3 million Americans have tested positive for covid-19 as of Friday, with roughly 177,000 now recovered. Over 77,400 deaths have been recorded. Globally, more than 270,000 have died.
Stay-at-home orders around the U.S. are beginning to lift, even though the number of daily infections recorded has yet to drop. The Trump administration has fomented protests against the state-by-state executive orders requiring businesses to close, citing a need to restart the economy.
More than 20 million Americans lost their jobs last month, the largest decline in employment since the end of World War II.