Apple reopens all but 4 retail stores in China as coronavirus infections fall

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chengdu
This store in Chengdu returns to normal hours on March 7.
Photo: Apple

Apple retail stores in China are slowly getting back to business as 38 of the company’s 42 retail stores are now open in an attempt to normalize business despite coronavirus concerns.

A review of the company’s retail web pages by Cult of Mac reveals Apple will expand business hours at 19 locations over the next couple of days and at least 6 stores will return to normal hours of operation.

In nine days Apple has re-opened an additional 14 stores. Three of the four closed locations are located in Tianjin, a port city of over 15 million people in northeastern China. Apple does not yet have a reopening date for those stores while the fourth at Suzhou Center Mall is set to reopen March 11.

All of the open Apple stores in China are currently operating with shortened hours, research shows. Some stores are still only open for six to eight hours a day.

Apple goes back to work in China

25 Apple stores will start opening their doors for longer with new hours rolling out between March 7 to March 11. Most of the stores are only adding an hour or two to their opening windows. Apple has selected a few stores in Shanghai to return to regular business hours, while many of the other locations in China are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The increased store hours could be a strong sign that Apple is confident China is getting the coronavirus situation under control. New infections and deaths reported in China have been declining in recent weeks, according to government data, suggesting the virus may have peaked. As of March 3rd, the number of severe cases of coronavirus have declined to 6,416 from more than 9,100 just nine days ago.

Apple closed all 42 of its retail stores in China at the beginning of February as the coronavirus outbreak in China worsened. Storefronts that have been reopened are offering face masks to customers along with conducting temperature checks at the door and undergoing deep cleaning.

The move to reopen locations in China comes after Apple temporarily closed at least one retail location in Italy. Apple employees have been banned from traveling to China, South Korea and Italy unless they obtain permission from a vice president.

CEO Tim Cook stated in a recent interview that he is optimistic that the government is starting to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Normalizing business in the country is crucial for Apple if it wants to make up the profits it missed out on while stores and suppliers have been down. Now that the coronavirus is spreading to countries across the globe, we could see more store closures coming soon.