Apple briefly closes California shops as virus instances escalate

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 20: Apple CEO Tim Cook greets customers at the reopening of Apple’s flagship retail store, Apple Fifth Avenue on September 20, 2019 in New York City.

Taylor Hill | WireImage | Getty Images

Apple temporarily closed all 53 retail stores in California after the number of coronavirus cases hit new daily records in its home state this week. A listing of the stores on the phone manufacturer’s website reflects the change, which will not affect the adjacent states of Arizona and Nevada.

The move shows how a large tech company is trying to reduce the spread of the virus to employees and consumers despite the potential business impact.

“Due to the current Covid-19 conditions in some of the communities in which we operate, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas,” an Apple spokesman told CNBC in an email. “We are taking this step with great caution as we are closely monitoring the situation and look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible.”

Customers can pick up existing orders and products that the Genius Bar has been repairing in the next few days, the spokesman said.

On Friday, Bloomberg reported that Apple temporarily closed its stores in the Los Angeles area a day after the state announced that ICU beds had run out in Southern California.

On Wednesday, California announced it had 53,711 new Covid-19 cases, breaking the record set on Sunday of 35,729.

Four of the state’s five geographic regions are currently sticking to stay-at-home orders, which allow retail stores to work indoors at 20% capacity. Shops must enforce entrance metering and no meeting or drinking is permitted.

In March, as the virus began to circulate in the US, Apple announced that it would close all stores outside of China through March 27. Some U.S. stores reopened to road traffic, and in early summer Apple closed more cases depending on how many more cases jumped.

According to Luca Maestri, the company’s chief financial officer, the store closings have affected Apple’s AppleCare support business this year.

The Apple spokesman said customers can shop, get product help and find information about the store on the company’s website.

– CNBC’s Kif Leswing contributed to this report.

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