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.

wsj apple store
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

Zen_Arcade Avatar
8 months 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)
Karma*Police Avatar
8 months 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)
skrutzen Avatar
8 months 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)
lkalliance Avatar
8 months 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)
macmyworld Avatar
8 months 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)
Doctor Q Avatar
8 months 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

jon prosser imac 2021colors

Prosser: 2021 iMac to Come in Five Colors, Apple Silicon Mac Pro to Resemble 'Stacked' Mac Minis

Wednesday February 24, 2021 7:26 am PST by
Hit-and-miss leaker Jon Prosser has today alleged that the upcoming 2021 iMac models will offer five color options, mirroring the colors of the fourth-generation iPad Air, and revealed a number of additional details about the Mac Pro with Apple Silicon. In a new video on YouTube channel FrontPageTech, Prosser explained that the redesigned iMacs will come featuring options for Silver, Space ...
First Look Big Sur Feature2

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 to Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged by Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks

Thursday February 25, 2021 10:07 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.2.2, the fourth update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November. macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 comes two weeks after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1, a bug fix update. The new ‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌ 11.2.2‌ update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences....
microsoft edge ios android

Bill Gates Says His Preference for Android Over iPhone is Due to Pre-Installed Software

Friday February 26, 2021 3:35 am PST by
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates this week participated in his first meeting on Clubhouse, the increasingly popular invite-only conversation app, where he fielded a range of questions as part of an ongoing book tour. Gates was interviewed by journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, and given that the Clubhouse app is currently only available on iOS, naturally one of the questions that came up was...
flat mbp 14 inch feature yellow

Redesigned 14-Inch MacBook Pro Expected to Feature Brighter Mini-LED Display With Slimmer Bezels and More

Thursday February 25, 2021 7:48 am PST by
Apple plans to unveil new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Mini-LED-backlit displays in the second half of this year, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report claims that Radiant Opto-Electronics will be the exclusive supplier of the Mini-LED backlight units, while Quanta Computer is said to be tasked with final assembly of the...
m1 mac mini

M1 Mac Users Report Excessive SSD Wear

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:07 am PST by
Over the past week, some M1 Mac users have been reporting alarming SSD health readings, suggesting that these devices are writing extraordinary amounts of data to their drives (via iMore). Across Twitter and the MacRumors forums, users are reporting that M1 Macs are experiencing extremely high drive writes over a short space of time. In what appear to be the most severe cases, M1 Macs are sai...
steam apple logo

Valve Ordered to Give Apple Information on 436 Steam Games As Part of Epic Games Legal Case

Thursday February 25, 2021 1:50 am PST by
Valve, the makers behind popular game distribution platform Steam, will be forced to hand over aggregate historical sales, price, and other information on 436 games hosted on the store to Apple, as part of the Apple vs. Epic Games antitrust case. As reported in a paywalled report by Law360, during a virtual discovery hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixson ordered that...
2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models With HDMI Port and SD Card Reader to Launch Later This Year

Monday February 22, 2021 8:52 pm PST by
Apple plans to release two new MacBook Pro models equipped with an HDMI port and SD card reader in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who outlined his expectations in a research note obtained by MacRumors. The return of an SD card reader was first reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman last month. "We predict that Apple's two new MacBook Pro models in 2H21 will have...
apple store macarthur center

Apple Store at MacArthur Center in Virginia Permanently Closing Following Years of Safety Issues at Shopping Mall

Thursday February 25, 2021 4:45 pm PST by
Apple today indicated that its retail store at the MacArthur Center shopping mall in Norfolk, Virginia will be permanently closing after over 14 years of business, although an exact closure date has yet to be announced by the company. Apple has assured that it will be offering all employees at the store other positions within Apple, and said that it looks forward to continuing to serve...
qualcomm snapdragon x60 5g

iPhone 13 Lineup Expected to Use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 Modem With Several 5G Improvements

Wednesday February 24, 2021 8:10 am PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 13 lineup will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon X60 5G modem, with Samsung to handle manufacturing of the chip, according to DigiTimes. Built on a 5nm process, the X60 packs higher power efficiency into a smaller footprint compared to the 7nm-based Snapdragon X55 modem used in iPhone 12 models, which could contribute to longer battery life. With the X60 modem, iPhone...
anker magsafe powercore battery pack

Anker Releases MagSafe-Compatible Battery Pack for iPhone 12 Lineup

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:49 am PST by
Following rumors that Apple is working on a MagSafe battery pack for iPhone 12 models, popular accessory maker Anker has beaten Apple to the punch with the release of its PowerCore Magnetic 5K Wireless Power Bank. First previewed at CES 2021, the PowerCore battery pack magnetically attaches to the back of any iPhone 12 model and provides 5W of wireless charging. With a 5,000 mAh capacity,...