Apple temporarily closes California stores as virus cases mount


NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 20: Apple CEO Tim Cook greets customers at the grand reopening of Apple’s flagship Apple Fifth Avenue retail store on September 20, 2019 in New York City.

Taylor Hill | WireImage | Getty Images

Apple has temporarily closed all 53 of its retail stores in California after the number of coronavirus cases reached new daily records in its home state this week. A listing of stores on the phone maker’s website reflects the change, which does not affect bordering states Arizona and Nevada.

The move shows how a major technology company is trying to reduce spread of the virus for employees and consumers, despite potential business impact.

“Due to current Covid-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas,” an Apple spokesperson told CNBC in an email. “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.”

Customers can still pick up existing orders and products the Genius Bar has repaired over the next few days, the spokesperson said.

On Friday Bloomberg reported that Apple had temporarily closed its stores in the Los Angeles area, one day after the state said Southern California had run out of intensive care unit beds.

On Wednesday California said it had 53,711 new Covid-19 cases, breaking the record of 35,729 that had been set on Sunday.

Four of the state’s five geographical regions are currently adhering to stay at home orders, which permit retail stores to operate indoors at 20% capacity. Stores must enforce entrance metering, and no meeting or drinking is permitted.

In March, as the virus was beginning to circulate in the U.S., Apple said it was closing all stores outside China until March 27. Some U.S. stores reopened for curbside service, and in the early summer Apple closed more U.S. stores as the number of cases jumped.

Store closures have impacted Apple’s AppleCare support business this year, Luca Maestri, the company’s chief financial officer, said in April.

The Apple spokesperson said customers can shop, get product help and find store information on the company’s website.

— CNBC’s Kif Leswing contributed to this report.

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