Apple made the unprecedented step of closing most of its physical stores earlier this year (see “Responding to COVID-19, Apple Closes All Stores Outside China,” 14 March 2020). Now the company has reopened nearly 100 of them, and Apple Senior Vice President of Apple Retail + People Deirdre O’Brien has penned an open letter outlining Apple’s precautions when opening stores, which it will do only after evaluating the local COVID-19 spread, near and long-term trends, and recommendations from local and national authorities. Apple will limit how many people can enter a store at one time, and employees and customers alike will be required to wear masks. Apple will provide masks to customers who need them and also conduct temperature checks at the door. Hopefully, Apple customers will be more understanding than they have been at other outlets.
O’Brien said Apple is renewing its focus on one-on-one personalized service not just at the Genius Bar, but also throughout the entire store. While we’d still be wary of entering an Apple Store right now, if you have a broken product, the Genius Bar may be your best bet for getting back to work quickly. Apple recommends its Find a Store tool to see if a store near you is open, but you might find Michael Steeber’s Google Map of Apple Store reopenings more helpful.