Apple to reopen first retail store in Europe May 5 since pandemic shutdown

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Vienna becomes first Apple store to reopen in Europe following COVID-19 pandemic.
Photo: Eric Weber for Cult of Mac

Apple will reopen its store in Vienna, Austria, on Tuesday, as its retail operations slowly emerge from a worldwide shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Vienna store is Apple’s first outside of China and South Korea to reopen after the company shuttered its brick-and-mortar locations in March.

According to Austria’s Heute newspaper, the only store in Austria will reopen with additional security precautions, including social distance and adjusted opening hours. Customers will be required to wear a protective mask and will be checked for a fever.

In a press statement to Austrian media, an Apple spokesperson said:

“We are looking forward to welcoming visitors to Apple Kärntner Straße again on Tuesday, May 5th. We missed our customers and are looking forward to offering our support. Since many Austrians work and learn from home and the conditions develop, we will initially concentrate on providing service and support for our customers.”

According to the published report, the main reason for the reopening appears to be to focus on helping and servicing customers who have problems with iPhone, iPad and Mac. Those wanting to browse might have to put up with longer waiting times.

Walk-in customers are being advised there could be delays in entering the store, and are being told, “it may be easier to shop at the Apple Online Store with delivery or collection from the store.”

Events and seminars at the stores will not be taking place until further notice in an effort to control social distancing.

The Vienna location, located on Kaerntner Street, first open on February 24, 2018. In the heart of the city, it sits on the famous pedestrian shopping street between St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Vienna State Opera. The store houses some 150 employees.

Store history through the pandemic

Apple closed all its retails stores outside China on March 14 in an effort to battle the spread of the COVID-19 virus. All 42 stores in China reopened in mid-March as the COVID-19 virus outbreak subsided. Apple’s only retail store in South Korea reopened April 18, making it the first Apple Store outside Greater China to restart operations.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said April 30 that the company was planning to reopen stores in Austria and Australia this week. Cook told Blooomberg he believed that “just a few, not a large number” of stores in the United States will re-open in the first half of May.

Cook said Apple is “going to look at the data and make a decision city by city, county by county, depending on the circumstances in that particular place.”