By Stephen Nellis
(Reuters) – Apple Inc plans to reopen about 100 U.S. stores, mostly with curbside pickup but some with walk-in service, the company said on Tuesday.
Apple shuttered stores worldwide as the novel coronavirus pandemic spread but has slowly opened them based on local health data. Earlier this month, the company reopened a handful of stores in Alaska, Idaho and Alabama.
Under Apple’s new procedures, stores with walk-in service will require customers and employees to undergo temperature checks and wear masks before entering. Apple will provide masks to customers who have none. Social-distancing rules will limit the number of people in the store at one time, which Apple said could create delays for walk-in customers.
Apple plans to allow customers to handle display products, as before.
“Throughout the day, we’re conducting enhanced deep cleanings that place special emphasis on all surfaces, display products, and highly trafficked areas,” Apple retail chief Deirdre O’Brien wrote in a letter to customers.
Apple has stores in several states where local rules would have allowed it to open, but it did not immediately do so. The company has relied on local data down to the city level, sometimes even reopening in the same U.S. state at different times.
The company started shuttering its China stores in January and reopened them by mid-March. Days later, Apple closed all stores outside mainland China as the virus moved around the globe. Stores reopened outside the Greater China region in mid-April, starting in South Korea, and have continued through Europe, Asia and the United States.
Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Richard Chang.