Omicron variant triggers wave of Apple retail store closures | Cult of Mac

Omicron variant triggers wave of Apple retail store closures

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Look who’s back.
Photo: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The new, highly transmissible COVID-19 variant reportedly forced Apple to shut down around 20 of its retail stores in the United States. Coronavirus cases continue to rise dramatically because of the omicron variant, with the daily national average more than doubling in the past two weeks.

Those planning to return a gift at a brick-and-mortar Apple Store, or use a gift certificate, should check to see if it’s open before heading out.

Apple store closures are back

Apple confirmed the store closures to The New York Times. “We regularly monitor conditions, and we will adjust our health measures to support the well-being of customers and employees,” Apple said.

The Times reports that some Apple Store locations were shuttered purely to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but others are closed “because not enough healthy employees were available to remain open.”

Apple has so far avoided a second round of sweeping closures of its retail stores. With 20 locations closed because of omicron, that means 250 remain open. But masks are required for everyone who enters an Apple location, regardless of vaccination status.

Alternatively, the online Apple Store is always open. As is the official support website.

While most Apple retail employees are required to be at their place of work, corporate employees are still allowed to work from home. In mid-December, CEO Tim Cook indefinitely postponed the date they’ll be required to return to their offices because of the omicron surge in infections.