Apple temporarily closed all its brick-and-mortar stores in the United Kingdom on Tuesday as a result of new COVID-19 lockdown measures imposed by the government.
Twenty of the 38 U.K. Apple stores were already closed due to coronavirus. However, new national lockdown measures that came into place Tuesday shuttered the other 18.
Through Monday, the United Kingdom operated on a tiered system, with different parts of the country operating under different restrictions in an attempt to halt pandemic. However, with a new, more infectious strain of coronavirus spreading quickly, the government announced new measures this week.
The new rules mean people must stay in their homes, leaving only for exercise, emergencies and essential shopping. Since that doesn’t include “I like the look of that new M1 MacBook,” Apple stores must close.
It is not yet clear when the United Kingdom will start to reopen. The new measures will last at least until the end of February. The first national lockdown, operating along similar lines, lasted three months last year.
All 18 UK Apple Stores open today will close from January 5. Includes every location in Scotland. Most of the other 20 stores closed just before the holidays. pic.twitter.com/RYfhWgNkrb
— Michael Steeber (@MichaelSteeber) January 4, 2021
Apple advises would-be customers to shop online for Apple products.
UK and beyond: Apple stores in the age of coronavirus
As with every physical retail outlet, Apple stores have had a tough time during the coronavirus outbreak. Apple first closed its stores in China when the initial coronavirus cases were reported early last year. It reopened the Chinese stores in March, before shuttering every other Apple store globally.
Things began to open back up in May and early June, marking the closest thing to a return to normalcy. At that point, Apple instituted new safety measures like taking customers’ temperatures before allowing entrance to stores. The second wave of COVID-19 caused Apple start to shutter stores again, from Australia to Apple’s home state of California.