Apple bans most employees from traveling to Italy and South Korea

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Seeing the Coliseum is a no-go for Apple employees.
Photo: Sean MacEntee/Flickr

Apple has added more travel restrictions for employees this week due to concerns of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Italy and South Korea have been added to Apple’s list of banned destinations, according to a report from Bloomberg. The company instituted a similar restriction on travel to China earlier this month to protect employees’ health.

“We have instituted specific travel restrictions in a few countries including China, South Korea, and Italy,” Apple told employees in a memo obtained by Bloomberg.

Certain employees will be allowed to travel to those countries for business-critical trips. All trips to Italy, South Korea and China have to be approved from a company vice president. Apple stores in Italy and South Korea have remained open as the number of coronavirus cases in the countries has continued to climb.

Apple readies for coronavirus impact

Apple is also encouraging its workers across the globe to hold virtual meetings when possible. The company installed hand sanitizers at the front of all its stores. Sick workers are being told to take sick leave until they’ve fully recovered.

“There are many ways to continue to manage our ongoing meetings and activities through calls and video,” Apple said in the email. “If you do have travel planned, we suggest you work with your managers to consider delaying or canceling business travel which could be postponed or managed through virtual meetings.”

Deep cleaning protocols are also being made a top priority at Apple stores, offices and employee shuttles. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview last week that he is optimistic that China is starting to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Most of Apple’s suppliers expect to be back to full steam by March. There have now been 92,729 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide with 3,158 deaths.