Apple has closed all 53 stores in California and up to 16 across the UK, Tennessee, Brazil and Mexico due to soaring COVID-19 cases in those regions, the company told the New York Times in a statement. It’s the second major closure of Apple’s retail locations since it closed stores across the US in April, shortly after the pandemic first struck.
“Due to current COVID-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas,” a spokesperson told the NYT. “We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible.”
Los Angeles and other California cities are currently getting “crushed” by the coronavirus, with ICU bed availability down to 3 percent in the state as of Saturday, December 19th. The state has issued a regional stay home order in effect for at least three weeks that will only lift when ICU capacity meets or exceeds 15 percent. Meanwhile, the UK has issued belated lockdown orders due to a spike in cases and a new, fast-spreading COVID-19 strain.
The closing comes at one of the busiest times of the year for retail stores, just four days ahead of Christmas — which takes place on a Friday this year. However, as Apple points out on its retail website, you can still pick up orders made online. It will also will honor previously scheduled in-store Genius support appointments and one-on-one shopping sessions reserved with a specialist before December 22nd.