All Apple stores outside of China will be closed by the United States based tech giant within the next two weeks in order to try and reduce the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The aim of closing down of its stores was to minimize the transmission of the disease, said the company that has hundreds of physical stores all over the world that are visited by millions every day.
“We must do all we can to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” said the company’s chief executive, Tim Cook.
The company reopened many of its stores in China – the where the coronavirus originated, on Saturday. The company’s plans for temporarily shutting down its stores will not include the stores in China because of the slowing rate of the spread of the virus outbreak.
The company has already changed the manner it will hold its annual Worldwide Developer Conference that was scheduled to be held in California in June and now participants will take part in online formats instead of the face to face meetings that typically goes on for several days with large gathering of people.
“In our workplaces and communities, we must do all we can to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Apple will be temporarily closing all stores outside of Greater China until 27 March and committing $15M (£12.25m) to help with worldwide recovery,” said Cook in a tweet.
“As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we’re taking additional steps to protect our team members and customers. In all of our offices, we are moving to flexible work arrangements worldwide outside of Greater China. That means team members should work remotely if their job allows, and those whose work requires them to be on site should follow guidance to maximise interpersonal space,” the company added in a statement.
The company further said that it will continue to conduct extensive and deep cleaning at all the sites of the company. Additionally, new health screenings and temperature checks are being rolled out at all the offices of the company. The company also announced that it will continue to pay to all of our hourly workers in alignment with business-as-usual operations.
Apple said that it had also expanded the leave policies for its employees so that the company can account for personal or family health circumstances in the case of any employee or family member being infected with the novel coronavirus. The new policy includes “recovering from an illness, caring for a sick loved one, mandatory quarantining, or childcare challenges due to school closures,” the company said in a statement.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)