Apple Stores across China will remain closed into next week amid the growing coronavirus crisis.
All 42 stores were closed this week because of the outbreak but were scheduled to open Feb. 10. In a memo to Apple Store employees this morning, Apple retail chief Deidre O’Brien indicated a reopening time is on hold until further notice.
The French website, MacGeneration obtained a copy of the memo, where O’Brien asked all store employees to standby and expressed deep gratitude to “everyone for facing this challenging period with the utmost empathy and understanding.”
Apples Store employees stand by
O’Brien said Apple has been in constant consultation with government and public health officials regarding conditions for a return to work.
We are working toward reopening Apple’s Corporate Offices and Contact Centers in China next week. We recognize that personal movement and travel restrictions are ongoing and schools are closed in many places, and managers will be working with their teams to offer additional support.
Apple’s Retail Stores are actively working to reopen at a date that will be determined next week. Additional cleaning, health protocols and local restrictions around public spaces will factor into this decision. Retail teams will receive updates from their managers on the opening date for their store and on other supportive steps we are taking.
As of Thursday night, coronavirus has killed 638 and infected more than 31,000 people, mostly in China.
Apple has been monitoring a coronavirus on a fast break since it first surfaced in January. Daily reports from the supply chain that produces most of the world’s iPhones and other Apple devices have indicated imminent delays in the production schedule.
Foxconn, which assembles the iPhone for Apple in China, said this week it will go ahead with production next week at its main facility in Zhengzhou but will lock in workers under quarantine for 14 days.
This morning, Foxconn told its workers in Shenzhen to stay home until further notice. Only a small number of iPhones are made there, however, the city is host to the headquarters of Foxconn’s parent company, Hon Hai Precision Industry, Co., which employs thousands.
Apple was scheduled to begin production of several new Apple devices, including a low-cost iPhone reportedly coming out in March.