Apple will reopen some stores in the United States next week, with temperature checks and a limited number of customers in the location at one time, the company confirmed to CNBC.
The vast majority of Apple’s stores outside of China have been closed since March in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In recent weeks, a few locations have reopened in countries such as South Korea, Australia and Germany.
Apple’s stores are a key demand driver for the company’s products. Reopening them is a sign that operations for the company are slowly getting back to normal during what Apple CEO Tim Cook called the “most challenging global environment” the company has ever experienced.
“We’re excited to begin reopening stores in the US next week, starting with some stores in Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama and Alaska,” an Apple representative said in a statement. “Our team is constantly monitoring local heath data and government guidance, and as soon as we can safely open our stores, we will.”
Apple has only six stores in those states, and did not confirm that all of them are opening next week. Overall, Apple has 510 stores globally and 271 stores in the U.S.
Apple said that the primary focus of the stores will be fixing products and that it will put safety procedures in place to protect staff and customers from the coronavirus, including temperature checks for employees and customers, social distancing and face coverings for employees.
“Our new social distance protocol allows for a limited number of visitors in the store at one time so there may be a delay for walk-in customers. We recommend, where possible, customers buy online for contactless delivery or in-store pick up,” Apple said in a statement.
Although Apple’s stores in the United States have been closed since the middle of March, the company reported a slight increase in total revenue in the quarter ended in March. The company also said that overall retail sales — including online sales — hit a record during the quarter.
“What we saw in this quarter was the online store had a phenomenal quarter,” Cook told CNBC’s Josh Lipton in April. “The growth was literally off the charts. And so I care more about the combination of the two than I do one in particular.”