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Apple reopens stores in China, just as it suspends Today at Apple sessions in the US

Published Mar 13th, 2020 6:50AM EDT
Coronavirus Update
Image: JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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  • The coronavirus outbreak is getting worse in western countries, and Apple is taking steps to ensure the safety of customers and employees.
  • Today at Apple sessions in Canada, Mexico, and the US have been suspended, and they’re not available to other markets either, including China, Italy, and Japan.
  • Apple’s 42 retail stores have opened in China, however, where they’ve been closed for more than a month.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus outbreak is getting worse in western countries and other regions, but the situation has been steadily improving in China, where it all began. The country needed more than two months to slow down the infection rate, a process that almost brought to a halt the economy in certain regions. Strict lockdown policies meant to quarantine the Wuhan region and other hot zones in the country had a massive impact on day to day life as well as business. Millions of people were advised to stay indoors to reduce the risk of transmissions, and these measures had a direct impact on the economy. Apple is just one of the many companies directly affected by the coronavirus lockdowns in China, and the company was forced to shut all its 42 stores in the region. These stores are open again in the region, just as Apple is adapting store operations in the US due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apple confirmed to Reuters that all 42 stores in China are now open, after more than a month. Apple’s China website now lists opening hours for all stores, after previously displaying a warning that said not all of the stores in the region were open.

Apple sold fewer than half a million iPhones in China during February, which is a direct effect of the coronavirus outbreak. The closure of Apple Stores in China was one of the reasons Apple cites for pulling its revenue forecast for the March quarter. China’s restrictions on travel were in place from late January throughout February, a measure that helped the government somewhat contain the virus.

The outbreak may be slowing down in China, but it’s been picking up steam in Europe, the US, Iran, and South Korea in the past few weeks. Italy has been hit the worst, and it’s now in lockdown, although countries including Germany, France, South Korea, Spain, and the US registered thousands of in the past few weeks.

Apple has already taken several measures to ensure the safety of its workforce and customers in light of the COVID-19 spread in these markets, increasing efforts to reduce social interaction in its stores without closing them. Reports revealed that Apple has been advising employees not to encourage buyers to try out wearable devices like the Apple Watch or AirPods. Similarly, Apple has adapted Genius Bar appointments to increase the physical distance between customers.

According to 9to5Mac, Apple appears to have suspended Today at Apple sessions in all stores in North America, following regional cancelations earlier this week.

Today at Apple sessions are also suspended in China, Italy, and Japan. Apple Stores are temporarily closed in Italy as well, where the government has ordered the closure of all shops except pharmacies and grocery stores.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.