As of Monday, all Apple stores in the United States are now open in some form or another, although some still require customers to call and make an appointment for in-store shopping.
9to5Mac noted that Apple stores in Texas around Houston, Dallas and San Antonio were the last to reopen on Monday after winter storms ravaged those areas.
Some stores started reopening in May of last year, but that depended on local Covid-19 conditions. Some stores reopened and closed again; others were affected by protests against racial injustice across the country.
In downtown Portland, Oregon, Apple’s former glass-fronted store at Pioneer Place reopened in May only to shut down again later the same month after protests and looting in the area. Apple covered the store’s windows with plywood, which artists turned into a mural featuring George Floyd and other victims of police brutality; the mural is being preserved and donated.
That store still is not open for regular shopping, although it’s open for pickup of online orders and Genius Support by appointment. In a FAQ section on its website, Apple says it's focused on limiting occupancy in every store, so customers may experience wait times before being allowed to enter.
Apple announced on March 13 of last year that it was temporarily closing all of its retail stores outside Greater China. Its stores in Greater China were reopened in March 2020 after shutting down in early February 2020.
The latest moves by Apple, which had directed consumers to its online channels as the pandemic took hold, come as more wireless carriers shutter their own stores and shift business to the online world.
Wave7 Research reported in its latest postpaid report that Apple had 256 of its U.S. stores open as of February 25, and more stores are allowing visitors into stores if they have an appointment.
“I would put this in the larger context that substantially all carrier stores are now also open. Vaccines are available and the coronavirus is now in retreat,” Jeff Moore, principal of Wave7 Research, told Fierce on Tuesday. “That said, many Apple stores are now open by appointment only and don’t yet offer a normal shopping and browsing experience. With many carrier stores closing, Apple has the opportunity to guide the wireless shopper’s experience in favor of Apple.”