Apple outlines plan to reopen more retail stores

Apple store
At most locations, Apple will require face coverings and temperature checks. (Getty Images)

Apple is reopening more than 25 retail stores in the U.S., though some will only offer curbside “Genius” support services or in-store pick-up options.

Apple has started slowly opening more locations after it had temporarily closed all retail stores outside of Greater China in March in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.  

Locations reopening this week include certain stores in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Oklahoma, and Washington.  

They follow the iPhone-maker’s first wave last week, which saw five locations across Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, and South Carolina resume some activity.

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All stores appear to be operating at reduced hours, though the services available vary depending on location. For example, Apple’s four stores in Florida that have reopened all offer full in-store shopping and tech support services. Its Colorado Springs location is open for in-store pickup and tech support by appointment only. Meanwhile, most reopened stores in California and Washington are only offering curbside Genius support services, though in-store pickup is available at select stores.

This fits with Apple’s strategy for opening doors again, outlined in a letter by Apple SVP of People and Retail Deirdre O’Brien, which stressed that decisions are made on a location-by-location basis and could change depending on the situation in the local community.

“Our commitment is to only move forward with a reopening once we’re confident we can safely return to serving customers from our stores. We look at every available piece of data — including local cases, near and long‑term trends, and guidance from national and local health officials,” O’Brien wrote “These are not decisions we rush into — and a store opening in no way means that we won't take the preventative step of closing it again should local conditions warrant.”

As of May 17, Apple had reopened nearly 100 of its retail stores around the globe, according to the letter.  

At every store O’Brien said Apple is limiting occupancy to give individuals more space and putting more emphasis on one-on-one service.  

At most locations, Apple will require face coverings for employees and customers, and provide them if customers don’t have one. Temperature checks and health questions to screen for COVID-19 symptoms like a cough or recent exposure to the virus are among other steps O’Brien laid out, alongside “enhanced deep cleanings” throughout the day.  

RELATED: Verizon targets reopening 50% of retail stores

Apple first reopened stores in Greater China after closing them early on to help stem the virus spread. O’Brien noted that during closures globally the company’s enhanced and expanded in-store safety measures that “have proven so effective in places like Greater China, where our stores have been safely open for months.”

U.S. mobile operators, which collectively temporarily shuttered thousands of stores in March, are also working through opening some retail locations back up.

Verizon's head of Consumer Business, Ronan Dunne, said earlier this month that the carrier was in the second wave of its retail redeployment program, with about 1,400 employees slated to head back to stores. A little over 40% of Verizon’s company-owned retail stores were open as of May 5, and the carrier expects to reach 50% by June.