Microsoft closes all of its stores due to coronavirus risk

It says it'll keep paying its employees as normal.

Microsoft is closing its store locations around the world in response to the escalating coronavirus outbreak. In an email to customers, the company said, "We are closing Microsoft Store locations to help protect the health and safety of our customers and employees. During this unprecedented time, the best way we can serve you is to do everything we can to help minimize the risk of the virus spreading." Microsoft also said it will continue to pay employees for their regularly scheduled hours.

The move follows similar from other tech companies, adhering to US government advice to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people. Apple, for example, recently announced it was closing all of its stores outside greater China until March 27th. Microsoft has not specified a timeframe for its store closures.

Tech companies are taking on a new social focus during these unprecedented times, with many adapting their usual offerings to help communities during the virus outbreak, and with government officials calling on them to help find ways to tackle the pandemic. As such, Microsoft also released a joint industry statement with Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter and YouTube, saying they are working together to keep communities "healthy and safe."