Apple has temporarily closed its stores around the world, except those located in China, in response to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak. The company CEO, Tim Cook, says they will be closed to minimize the risk of virus infection.

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“… the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance. As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we’re taking additional steps to protect our team members and customers,” Tim Cook said.

The company is closing down for around two weeks, until March 27, but its online store will still be operational around the clock. Customers who may need after-sales services can visit support.apple.com for assistance.

Apple encourages its workers outside China to work from home whenever possible. Otherwise, they should “maximize interpersonal space” if they have to.

Several measures will be put in place across all of the company’s stores outside “Greater China” like extensive deep cleaning, performing health checks and temperature checks.

Apple had initially closed all of its stores in China and recently reopened as the country reports reducing rates of infection.

Apple has donated $15 million worldwide to help countries deal with the ongoing virus outbreak, as of Friday, according to Tim Cook.

“We’re also announcing that we are matching our employee donations two-to-one to support COVID-19 response efforts locally, nationally and internationally.”

Hourly workers will continue being paid even as the company’s stores close. To support its workers, Apple has expanded its leave policies to accommodate both personal and family-related health circumstances created by the virus outbreak.

The company also recently canceled its one-on-one annual Worldwide Developers Conference planned to happen in June. Instead, the company will be doing the conference exclusively online.

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