Apple asks shareholders to take coronavirus precautions ahead of annual meeting


The meeting takes place inside the Steve Jobs Theater on February 26.
Photo: Foster + Partners

Apple is asking attendees of its annual shareholder meeting, which takes place at the Steve Jobs Theater on Wednesday, February 26, to take extra precautions amid the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.

The company is following official guidance in an effort to minimize the risk of COVID-19 being spread among visitors.

“Apple is following official guidance on COVID-19 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and working in close consultation with public health experts,” reads an email today distributed to meeting attendees.

“We ask shareholders who have traveled to China in February to ensure they have completed the required 14-day quarantine period prior to the meeting in order to attend.”

Coronavirus spread shows no signs of slowing

Apple’s email comes as coronavirus continues to spread globally at an alarming rate. The latest figures show that there are now more than 80,000 confirmed cases worldwide, and more than 2,700 people have died from contracting the virus.

U.S. officials today told citizens they should prepare for an inevitable outbreak on home turf.

“It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen in this country any more but a question of when this will happen,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases,” told The New York Times.

“We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad.”

Apple asks visitors to be cautious

It’s no surprise Apple is being cautious, then. It wants to eliminate any chance of the virus spreading among visitors to its own campus. Other venues, such as The Moscone Center, where Apple has held keynotes in the past, are taking a similar approach.

“The Moscone Center adheres to the recommendations set forth in the U.S. EPA’s Emerging Pathogen Policy regarding cleaning disinfectants effective against the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV),” reads a notice on the center’s website.

Visitors are directed to the CDC website, where there is a wealth of information on COVID-19, including a list of symptoms, details on how the virus spreads, and what you can do to protect yourself. The CDC explains that the priority right now is keeping spread to a minimum.

“Global efforts at this time are focused concurrently on containing spread of this virus and mitigating the impact of this virus,” its website reads.

Sean Montgomery, a consultant from Reno, Nevada, who has owned Apple stock for more than 10 years and first posted the above tweet regarding Apple’s warning, isn’t too concerned about visiting the Steve Jobs Theater this week. Coronavirus is “in the back of my mind,” he told Cult of Mac, but he hasn’t considered not attending.

“I’m not worried … As we got closer to the event, I was curious how [Apple] might handle it,” he added. “I’m glad they did make a mention on if it in today’s confirmation email.”

The impact on Apple

It’s likely coronavirus will be a hot topic during Apple’s meeting on Wednesday. The company has already warned investors that it no longer expects to meet its own second quarter guidance due to the impact the outbreak is having on manufacturing partners.

Apple will also use the meeting to provide updates on its business, and to give shareholders an opportunity to present proposals. It’s unlikely the meeting will produce anything exciting for the average Apple fan, however.