Apple Stores across the U.S. will remain closed until at least early May, the company’s SVP of Retail and People Deirdre O’Brien has told staff, Bloomberg reports.
In a memo sent to employees Thursday, O’Brien also noted that “flexible work arrangements will remain in place for all offices.” Tim Cook previously advised Apple employees to work from home where possible.
O’Brien continued by saying that Apple is “continuing to monitor local conditions for every Apple facility” on a daily basis. It will make any decisions about reopening in line with “the latest guidance from local governments and public health experts.”
O’Brien additionally noted that Apple is aware of the challenges faced by parents. Many are currently homeschooling their kids as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. She says that employees should be open with managers about problems they are facing.
Finally, she said that Apple’s executive team is meeting daily. It is also “closely coordinating” with teams across the company.
Apple closed Apple Stores March 14
Apple made the decision to close all its retail stores outside of Greater China on Saturday, March 14. Prior to this, it had steadily closed various stores around the world. At the time, Apple said the closure would continue through March 27. Since then, the date has been pushed back.
Apple operates stores in nearly 460 locations across the world outside of China, including about 270 in the United States. On the Temporary Retail Store Closures FAQ section of its website, it currently notes that: “Our retail stores are closed until further notice.”
For customers who recently purchased Apple devices, but wanting to return them within the 14 day return period, Apple has said that it will accept returns for 14 days after Apple Store reopens. This is also when customers will be able to collect devices dropped off for repairs.
Current rumors suggest that Apple will unveil a new low-cost iPhone SE some time in the first half of April. This could possibly happen as early as today. If it does, this will be the first time in iPhone history that fans have been unable to line up to buy the new handset on launch day.