Bloomberg's Mark Gurman disseminated a tweet on Thursday (via AppleInsider) that contained good news for Apple and consumers in China. As of Friday in China, all 42 Apple Stores in the country are open. However, the stores will have reduced hours on Friday. On Saturday, the Apple Center 66 in Wuxi will return to normal hours with two more stores, Apple Chaoyang Joy City and Apple Tahoe Plaza, set to return to a full schedule on March 19th.
In China, Apple started to close its retail outlets in January and by February, all 42 stores in the country were shut. But before the month was out, 29 stores reopened for limited hours and now, in March, all 42 locations are open for business. Not all countries are so lucky. In Italy, where the pandemic has forced the entire country into lockdown, all Apple Stores are closed.
Apple is trying to reduce the number of people that can sit in its stores and play around with its devices. The company cut the number of seats available for shoppers by 50% in its stores. It also told store employees not to suggest to consumers that they should try on an Apple Watch or an AirPods Pro to check out the fit. If shoppers inside the store request it, they can try on either device, but the idea to do so cannot come from an Apple Store employee.
Despite the good news regarding the reopening of all 42 Chinese Apple Stores, the unveiling of the Apple iPhone 9 will reportedly be delayed. And depending on what course COVID-19 takes, the September unveiling of the 2020 iPhone models could be pushed back as well. As we told you earlier today, the annual WWDC developers conference is being moved online. Apple will announce between now and June how developers can participate in the conference.