Almost two months after Apple shut down retail outlets in most countries, the tech giant will begin reopening a handful of U.S. stores starting next week.
In mid-March, the company said it was closing down about 450 stores worldwide for two weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak, before saying a few days later that all stores would be shuttered until further notice (except for those in the Greater China region).
Apple plans to reopen retail stores in four states — Alabama, Alaska, Idaho and South Carolina — starting next Monday (May 11). There are just six stores (out of the 271 Apple Stores in U.S.) in those states.
“We’re excited to begin reopening stores in the U.S. next week, starting with some stores in Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama and Alaska,” Apple said in a statement. “Our team is constantly monitoring local heath data and government guidance, and as soon as we can safely open our stores, we will.”
As with the Apple Stores that have reopened in South Korea, Australia and Austria, the U.S. locations will provide several safety measures. Those include a limit on customers in the stores at any given time, social distancing, temperature checks and face coverings for customers and employees.
Upon reopening, Apple Stores will be focused on providing tech support and device repairs, according to the company. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting stores closures have come as millions are working from during quarantines, meaning Apple customers haven’t been able to get hands-on tech support from Genius Bar staff for malfunctioning or broken iPhones, Macs or other products.
“We’ve missed our customers and look forward to offering our support. With many working and learning from home, our primary focus will be providing service and support at the Genius Bar,” the company said in the statement.
With its stores closed, Apple has been directing customers to its online store or app for free shipping on product purchases. For service and support, Apple customers can visit support.apple.com or call (800) 275-2273.