A bunch of Apple Stores across the US and Canada won't be able to cater to customers' last-minute holiday shopping. According to Bloomberg, the tech giant temporarily shut down eight locations due to a surge in COVID-19 cases both among the public and among its employees. Apple typically shutters a retail store if around 10 percent of its employees had tested positive for COVID-19, the news agency said.
The following locations have been closed since Tuesday:
Dadeland in Miami
The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach
Lenox Square in Atlanta
Cumberland Mall in Atlanta
Highland Village in Houston
Summit Mall in Ohio
Pheasant Lane in New Hampshire
Sainte-Catherine in Montreal
The company also shut down stores in Hawaii, Maryland, Ohio, Ottawa (Canada) and Texas earlier this month, though it only lasted for a few days. One of its retail locations in Miami, however, remains shuttered. The company told Bloomberg in a statement: "We regularly monitor conditions, and we will adjust our health measures to support the well-being of customers and employees. 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."
Perhaps in an effort to persuade people to shop online instead, Apple is offering customers "free two-hour courier delivery on eligible in-stock items." The offer doesn't apply to "customized Mac, engraved products and... certain order types including orders paid for with financing or by bank transfer." But so long as the product is eligible and available — it's the holidays and companies are still struggling from component shortages, so availability will most likely be limited — buyers can get their orders delivered for free if they order before 12PM on December 24th.
Apple had taken other steps earlier this month following the rise in cases and the emergence of the Omicron variant. It had chosen to delay its return-to-office plans, which were slated to begin in February, and reinstated mask requirements across all its stores in the US.