Apple is reportedly introducing new measures at Apple Stores designed to help avoid the spread of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus.
According to a report by Apple Insider, Apple Stores will be limiting the number of customers who can enter its retail stores at any one time. It is also reducing customer seating by half, and introducing “social distancing” protocols in which employees are asked to stay three feet away from customers and each other.
This follows an earlier move by Apple to cancel “Today at Apple” sessions in many locations. In places where coronavirus outbreaks have been at their most severe, Apple has temporarily closed stores entirely. These measures are intended to reduce the risk of customers or employees spreading or contracting the coronavirus.
Apple has classically tried to make Apple Stores in meeting places or, as it phrases it, “town squares.” However, when it comes to coronavirus the company is temporarily trying to change that association.
Apple Store measures to prevent coronavirus spread
It should be noted that these are not foolproof safeguards. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that the COVID-19 coronavirus may be able to survive on surfaces for “up to several days.” While surfaces can be disinfected, there’s still the chance that customers could come into contact with the virus while touching uncleaned services or devices. If you’re in a part of the world where there has been a coronavirus outbreak (and even if there hasn’t yet been), your chances of contracting it are significantly reduced if you don’t visit crowded public spaces.
Apple Insider says that Apple’s new retail stores measures were initially introduced in Italy. The same measures have reportedly also been adopted in China, and are likely to roll out to Apple Stores in other countries as well. In China, Apple also requested that customers wear surgical masks and submit to temperature checks upon entering Apple Stores.
Among non-retail employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook has given permission for people to work from home where possible. Apple confirmed Tuesday that an employee at its Cork, Ireland campus has contracted COVID-19. Apple is also offering its hourly retail workers unlimited sick leave if they have coronavirus symptoms.
Source: Apple Insider