Customers in the US will set foot in an Apple Store for the first time in almost two months on Monday at 11:00 a.m. I’m irritated. Apple set a laudable precedent by being among the first major retailers to close their doors to COVID-19 in March. Reopening sends out a mixed signal early on.
Is it wise to reopen Apple stores now?
Throughout this public health issue, I have commended Apple’s concern for store staff and customers. COVID-19 response from the organization was pitch good. Apple started giving workers unpaid sick leave for coronavirus-like symptoms some days before all stores outside Greater China closed on March 13. The firm has been financially and emotionally helping its store workers for the last two months with generous bonuses and work-from-home incentives to pass the time. Also at-home teams set up store Today creative sessions at stores practically overnight to remind us that innovation is still relevant.
Apple will begin the lengthy and painful process of reopening its 271 retail stores in the USA beginning next week. Fewer than six stores will be open by the end of the week in four states, but more will follow. The firm has reopened all stores in Greater China, South Korea, Austria and 21 of Australia’s 22 locations elsewhere around the world. The 15 German stores reopen on Monday and the 4 Swiss reopen on Tuesday for a total of 94 locations worldwide. The Apple Stores in 15 other countries are absolutely closed.
The countries in which Apple has so far reopened have all taken constructive and effective steps to curtail the COVID-19 distribution and flatten its curves. The United States did not. We have the most deaths, the most reported incidents, and a frustrating state-by-state policy to alleviate the national lock-downs. Reopening 1, 10, or 100 Stores sends out a message to Americans that letting their guard down is safe. We still cannot afford a return to normal.