Inside Apple's Coronavirus Store Closure Strategies

With Apple gradually reclosing many of its U.S. stores as coronavirus cases increase, The Wall Street Journal has taken a look at Apple's strategies and criteria for deciding when and where to close stores, viewing the company as a retail bellwether.


As noted by analyst Gene Munster in the video, Apple's massive cash reserves and its heavy online presence mean that the company can be more aggressive about closing its locations than many other retail companies. As a result, tracking the company's store closures provides an interesting glimpse of what's happening in various areas of the country and trends looking forward.


Apple shared a few specific details about its store closure criteria with The Wall Street Journal, noting that it takes into account the following factors from county-level data:

  • Case numbers
  • Positivity rates
  • Hospital, ICU and ventilator usage
  • Asymptomatic testing
  • Other factors

Apple says it uses publicly available data as much as possible, but if that data isn't available, it will contact public health departments to request it.

Apple closed all of its retail stores outside of Greater China in mid-March, and in mid-May it began reopening most of its U.S. stores. Just a month later, however, Apple began reclosing many of its retail locations, and nearly half of its U.S. stores are currently closed.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
3 weeks ago
Apple appears to be using a data-driven model, which is, needless to say, positive.

It would help tame the pandemic if more governmental entities did the same.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
3 weeks ago
I’ve no idea what Apple hopes to accomplish with these closures. By following common sense guidelines, Apple can keep employees and customers safe, provide much needed support to its customers, and do its part to contribute to the health of the economy.

To think that closing a few Apple Stores will somehow prevent the spread is really silly... employees and customers are far more likely to contract it outside of an Apple Store... bars, restaurants, house parties, hanging out with friends, etc.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
3 weeks ago


I’ve no idea what Apple hopes to accomplish with these closures. By following common sense guidelines, Apple can keep employees and customers safe, provide much needed support to its customers, and do its part to contribute to the health of the economy.

To think that closing a few Apple Stores will somehow prevent the spread is really silly... employees and customers are far more likely to contract it outside of an Apple Store... bars, restaurants, house parties, hanging out with friends, etc.

Apple stores are in busy areas. The employees feel safe at work but traveling to and from stores is an issue. Employees are at risk when they go on break, or have to walk through a crowded mall and people around you are not wearing masks. So what they‘re accomplishing is keeping their most important investment safe first: their employees.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
3 weeks ago
Was at an Apple Store yesterday. Some are closed in my area, the ones in the most crowded spots; this one wasn't. I'm immuno-depressed, so I don't leave the house very often, but this was a good experience. I made an appointment (I was looking to buy my first Apple Watch) for yesterday early evening. Midweek, around dinnertime, a mall whose main anchors (movie theater, Macy's, Dave & Buster's) were closed as well as many (but not all) of the stores inside...felt reasonably safe. So I got to the Apple Store and here was my experience:

--First had to interact with what looked like security, perhaps they were medical staff. Had to answer the usual questions (Have you had a fever? Have you had a cough? etc.), and then had my temperature taken.
--Apple staff member was out managing the lines (reservations or walk-up, sales or service). I had to stand in a specific spot where where she (from a social distance) confirmed what I was there for and whether I had a reservation. Got in line, where of course there were tape marks to keep us distanced.
--Eventually allowed in (only so many allowed at once), and was accompanied to what I wanted to see.
--I did not expect this, but I WAS allowed to try on a Watch. He took out the sample watch case of the type I wanted, wiped it with disinfectant, did the same with the bands, allowed me to play around.
--Any time I looked around, SOMEONE was wiping down equipment or counters, and of course there were hand sanitizing stations in several places.
--When I made my purchase, the box was brought to the associate, who wiped it down with an antiseptic wipe. I was also offered as many antiseptic wipes as I liked to take with me; I used those to wipe down the exterior of the box and each of the boxes inside.

The reservations are just for 15 minutes, but I was there a lot longer (there wasn't anyone on line, my supposition about the time and place was correct). I wouldn't hesitate to do it again if needed.


EDIT: Oh, and of course masks required.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
3 weeks ago
Great that Apple is taking care of its employees. Just wish they offered better service options when the stores are closed. Many people rely on their equipment to do business including many essential businesses.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
3 weeks ago
Tracking store closures to identify outbreaks is a case of the tail wagging the dog. Apple reacts to outbreak data in each geographic area, so it's the data that tells the story. Apple's actions simply echo it.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone Maker Foxconn Says China's 'Days as the World's Factory Are Done'

Wednesday August 12, 2020 7:55 am PDT by
China will no longer be the world's manufacturing epicenter going forward, according to Apple's largest supply chain partner Foxconn, which has been gradually expanding its operations in other countries amid the U.S.-China trade war. "No matter if it's India, Southeast Asia or the Americas, there will be a manufacturing ecosystem in each," said Foxconn chairman Young Liu, according to Bloombe...

Leaker Jon Prosser: Apple Watch and iPad Launching in September, iPhone 12 Event to Take Place in October

Wednesday August 12, 2020 4:31 pm PDT by
Apple last month confirmed that this year's iPhone 12 models will launch outside of their normal September timeframe and will be "available a few weeks later," which has led to speculation about when an event might be held. Leaker Jon Prosser, who sometimes shares accurate knowledge of Apple's plans, today said that Apple will hold its iPhone 12 event during the week of October 12, with...

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Apple to Launch Bundled Subscription Services Called 'Apple One'

Thursday August 13, 2020 3:41 am PDT by
Apple will launch a new range of subscription service bundles called "Apple One" as soon as October, according to a new report by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The series of bundles would allow customers to subscribe to several Apple digital services together. This is expected to result in a lower monthly price than when the services are subscribed to individually. Bloomberg reports that the...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.6.1 With Fix for Storage Issue and Green Tinted Displays

Wednesday August 12, 2020 1:31 pm PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.6.1, minor updates that come a month after the release of the iOS 13.6 update with Car Keys and Audio Apple News+ stories. The iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.6.1 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update. iOS 13.6.1 addresses an issue that could cause...

Apple May Release 4G-Only iPhone 12 in Early 2021

Tuesday August 11, 2020 5:28 am PDT by
In a research note shared by Business Insider, Wedbush Securities analysts said that Apple may release a cheaper iPhone 12 in early 2021 with no 5G connectivity. Wedbush initially believed Apple would launch a mix of 4G and 5G iPhone 12 models this fall. Following re-examination of Asian supply chains, analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe, and Ahmad Khalil revised the predictions,...

Apple Removes Fortnite From App Store [Update: Epic Files Lawsuit Against Apple]

Thursday August 13, 2020 11:58 am PDT by
Just hours after Epic Games introduced a new direct payment option for Fortnite that skirts Apple's in-app purchase rules, Apple has pulled the Fortnite app from the App Store. Fortnite is no longer available for download on the iPhone or the iPad, and Apple provided a statement to MacRumors on Fortnite's removal:Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store...

iPad Pro Keyboard Comparison: Logitech's $160 Folio Touch vs. Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:11 pm PDT by
Logitech recently debuted the Folio Touch, a keyboard and trackpad case designed for the 11-inch iPad Pro that serves as an alternative to the Magic Keyboard. In our latest YouTube video, we compare the $160 Folio Touch to Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard to see which is better. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Logitech is selling the Folio Touch for $160, while Apple's...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.6 Supplemental Update With Virtualization Bug Fix

Wednesday August 12, 2020 1:20 pm PDT by
Apple today released a supplemental update for macOS Catalina 10.15.6, with the update coming a month after the original launch of macOS Catalina 10.15.6. The ‌‌macOS Catalina‌‌ 10.15.6 Supplemental Update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the System Preferences app. According to Apple's release notes, the update fixes a problem that could cause...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...