Apple closes three stores in retort to surging Covid rates

Apple closes three stores in retort to surging Covid rates

Apple locked three stores on Wednesday as Covid-19 cases surge — 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 of the three stores 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 three 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 three 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.