Apple urges Cupertino employees to work from home due to coronavirus

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Apple may as well run Cupertino.
Apple is recommending to employees to work from home as concerns over the coronavirus grow.
Photo: Benjamin Feenstra

Apple has sent out a work-from-home recommendation to all of its Cupertino-based employees due to fears of the growing coronavirus outbreak in the United States.

It is unclear if the notice to employees at Apple Park and Infinite Loop was a suggestion and not a requirement and for how long the company is recommending its workers refrain from reporting to their offices.

Business Insider reported the story Friday citing an unnamed source close to the matter. It is not clear what day the company informed its employees of the request. An Apple spokesperson was not immediately available for comment to Cult of Mac.

Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman tweeted Friday that “Apple is encouraging its employees in Silicon Valley to work from home today if they can as an ‘additional precaution,'” but that its local retail stores remain open.

The news comes one day after the Santa Clara County Public Health Department instructed Silicon Valley companies to consider telecommuting options and consider postponing large gatherings of people like conferences.

In the past few weeks, multiple technology conferences — including the Adobe Summit, Facebook’s F8 developer conference, Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress and the Microsoft MVP Global Summit — have been canceled due to coronavirus concerns. Google said Tuesday it would transform Google I/O 2020 into an online, streaming-only event.

The reported recommendation comes as Apple is deciding whether to announce its plans for an expected June Worldwide Developers Conference. So far, Apple remains mum regarding the dates or schedule for WWDC 2020. Cult of Mac has confirmed Apple has contracted for the event to be held in June at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. The conference typically draws 6,000 or so developers to the Bay Area for face-to-face encounters with Apple employees.

Apple employees have also been asked to suspend nonessential employee travel and cancel large in-person meetings and conferences.

Apple retail stores in the San Francisco Bay Area remain open, but the company is limiting some “Today at Apple” classes in the region and in the Seattle area according to details uncovered by Cult of Mac. Seattle currently has the largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. The iPhone maker also is spacing out Genius Bar service appointments at stores in those cities so people are not as close to one another.

Worldwide, there are over 101,000 confirmed cases or coronavirus — a pneumonia-like illness — and more 3,400 deaths. The death toll has now jumped to 15 after three more people died in Washington state.