Apple temporarily closes three stores in response to rising covid rates

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Apple store employees wearing masks talk to a customer through an open door at the Oculus shopping center amid the coronavirus pandemic on May 21, 2020 in New York City. COVID-19 has spread to most countries around the world, claiming over 334,000 lives with over 5.1 million cases.

Alexi Rosenfeld | Getty Images

Apple temporarily shut three stores on Wednesday as Covid-19 cases rise.

A store in Miami is closed through Thursday, and a store in Ottawa, Ontario, and a third in Annapolis, Md., are closed through Friday, according to Apple’s website.

The closures raise questions about the impact of the Covid pandemic on the holiday-shopping season amid concerns from public health authorities about the impact of the omicron variant, which appears to be more transmissible.

“We regularly monitor conditions and we will adjust our health measures to support the wellbeing of customers and employees,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. “We remain committed to a comprehensive approach for our teams that combines regular testing with daily health checks, employee and customer masking, deep cleaning and paid sick leave.”

Apple said that store employees will take Covid-19 tests before reopening, so the closures could be delayed beyond Thursday and Friday, depending on the results. Apple’s retail employees have had access to weekly at-home tests provided by the company since earlier this year.

Apple also announced this week that it will require face masks for customers at all stores in the United States.

In addition to store closings, the iPhone maker has adjusted individual store policies in response to regional conditions, including an emphasis on customer pickups via online purchases instead of in-store shopping and increasing the amount of space to social distance.

Apple closed all of its stores in 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. All stores reopened earlier this year. Since then, Apple has sometimes closed stores, citing coronavirus conditions, including a Texas location last week.

California, where Apple is headquartered, has imposed a monthlong indoor mask mandate.

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