Apple Stores in China Won't Reopen as Planned on February 10 Due to Coronavirus Concerns
Apple in early February closed all of its corporate offices, stores, and contact centers in China due to the coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, and at the time, the closures were expected to last through February 9.
Apple's Head of People, Deirdre O'Brien, this morning sent out an email (via MacGeneration) to Apple employees as some prepare to transition back to work while others wait longer for word on when they can return.
According to O'Brien, Apple is working to reopen Apple's corporate offices and contact centers next week, and is "actively working" to reopen retail stores at a date that "will be determined next week." Health protocols, local restrictions around public spaces, and additional cleaning have factored in to Apple's decision to delay store reopening. O'Brien's full letter to employees is below.
Team, I want to thank every one of you for the care, flexibility and spirit you have shown over the past few weeks. Around the world, the entire Apple family stands committed to helping our colleagues, communities, suppliers, partners and customers in China as they care for their health and return to daily life. Apple's support for the global coronavirus response is broad and ongoing, including our donation to the public health effort.
Since my last note, we have been in constant consultation with public health experts, government authorities and our teams and leaders in China. In light of those conversations, I want to share new information about Apple's workplaces.
We are working toward reopening Apple's Corporate Offices and Contact Centers in China next week. We recognize that personal movement and travel restrictions are ongoing and schools are closed in many places, and managers will be working with their teams to offer additional support. You will receive a follow up communication shortly with more information.
Apple's Retail Stores are actively working to reopen at a date that will be determined next week. Additional cleaning, health protocols and local restrictions around public spaces will factor into this decision. Retail teams will receive updates from their managers on the opening date for their store and on other supportive steps we are taking.
Individual business leaders will be reaching out to you soon with more information relevant to your work. In addition to your manager, your People Business Partner and People Support are your resource for any questions you may have. To stay up to date with Apple's efforts, please continue to check the dedicated coronavirus page we've created on the People site.
As we work together to gradually resume work over the next few weeks, your well-being is our first priority. We are deeply grateful to everyone for facing this challenging period with the utmost empathy and understanding.
Apple plans to provide retail teams with updates on store opening dates as retail locations begin to reopen over the coming weeks, but it continues to be unclear when the first stores will be back in running order.
The coronavirus has been declared a global public health emergency by the World Health Organization. More than 31,000 people have been infected with the virus, primarily in China, and it has caused over 600 deaths.
To prevent further spread of the virus, China has initiated travel bans and many businesses in China are taking precautions. Many of Apple's manufacturing partners are in China and are preparing for employees to return to work after the Chinese New Year holiday, but production on Apple devices and components is expected to be slow due to travel bans and quarantine procedures, which could impact supplies of Apple products.