• Apple retail stores will remain closed until early May according to a new memo sent to store employees.
  • Apple was initially planning to re-open its retail stores in early April, but ongoing coronavirus concerns forced Apple to adjust its timeline.
  • When Apple stores do re-open, it will be on a store-by-store basis. Stores in some large cities may remain closed well into June.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Apple on Thursday told employees that its retail stores will remain closed until early May, according to a report from Bloomberg. The message was conveyed to staff members via a memo from Deirdre O’Brien, the company’s senior VP of Retail. Apple first closed all of its worldwide retail stores outside of China on March 13.

Though Apple, as recently as last week, was planning to re-open some retail store locations in early April, the ongoing impact of the coronavirus prompted company executives to re-consider. Despite concerted efforts from medical and health professionals, and despite the fact that much of the United States remains quarantined, the reality is that the coronavirus is still spreading week by week. Incidentally, the number of coronavirus cases worldwide surpassed 1 million yesterday.

Looking ahead, O’Brien’s memo said that Apple will continue to “monitor local conditions for every Apple facility on a daily basis” and that any decision to open a particular Apple store will be influenced by the “latest guidance from local governments and public health experts.”

In light of that, it stands to reason that Apple retail stores will re-open on a staggered basis. In other words, stores in locations where the coronavirus has been contained will open well before retail stores in coronavirus hotspots. In effect, Apple retail stores in big cities like New York City and Chicago could remain closed well into June.

In the interim, Apple retail employees are still getting paid during this extended period of time off. Salaried Apple employees in Cupertino, meanwhile, have been working from home for the past few weeks. Notably, Apple, in the interest of keeping the product development process afloat, has eased up on some of its rules regarding employees taking prototype devices home for testing and further development.

To the latter point, Apple is still planning to release a slew of new products this year. As we highlighted earlier this week, Apple in the coming months is aiming to release a brand new HomePod, a next-gen Apple TV, cheaper iPad models, a brand new Apple Watch, a refreshed iMac, and even a new MacBook Pro.

And last but not least, Apple is still hoping to release the iPhone 12 this fall, though we’ve seen reports the iPhone 12 release might be pushed back until November or even beyond.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.