Apple may reopen some of its stores in the first half of April

When Apple closed all of its retail stores outside of mainland China on March 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the tech giant said at the time it hoped to reopen them on March 28. But with the global health crisis escalating, that plan has now changed.

An FAQ page posted by Apple shortly after the closure began now says the stores will stay shut “until further notice.”

In a company memo seen by Bloomberg, Deirdre O’Brien, senior vice president of people and retail, said the stores will open as and when conditions permit, with the first ones accepting customers possibly in the first half of April.

“For all of our retail stores outside of Greater China, we will reopen our stores on a staggered basis,” O’Brien said in the memo. “At this time, we anticipate some stores may be able to open in the first half of April depending on the conditions in their community. We will provide updates for each store as soon as specific dates are established.”

Apple operates more than 500 stores globally, with half of them in the U.S. It earlier shuttered all 42 of its stores in China as the country grappled with the coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19, but all have now reopened as the nation appears to be over the worst of the outbreak.

The extended closure of Apple’s retail stores globally means some customers have to wait longer than expected to collect their device if it’s there for repair. Customers had been given a two-day window — March 15 and 16 — to collect their device during the early part of the store closure. Those that missed the opportunity had been hoping to pick it up on March 28, but they’ll now have to wait until at least April.

Apple has said that all of its hourly workers will continue to receive pay in alignment with business-as-usual operations. Recent reports also suggested that Apple Store workers will receive unlimited sick leave if they experience COVID-19 symptoms once the outlets are back in business. Its other employees at offices around the world have been asked to work remotely, if possible.

Digital Trends has reached out to Apple for more information regarding its store closures and we will update this article when we hear back.