All Apple Stores in the "Big Apple" are closed to shoppers

All Apple Stores in the "Big Apple" are closed to shoppers
Last week, we told you that Apple had closed several Apple Stores as the Omicron variant of COVID continued to rapidly spread throughout the world. The locations that were shut down last week included Apple Stores in Miami (Dadeland), Palm Beach (The Gardens Mall), Atlanta (Lenox Square), Houston (Highland Village), Fairlawn, Ohio (Summit Mall), Nashua, New Hampshire (Pheasant Lane).

Apple Stores in the "Big Apple" are closed as the Omicron variant of COVID continues to spread

Earlier this month, stores were temporarily closed in Miami (Brickell Avenue), in Annapolis, Maryland; and in Ottawa, Canada. The closing took place in mid-December just as the Omicron variant started to gather steam; the number of people infected each day in states like Florida and New York have been hitting numbers not seen since the early days of the pandemic back in March 2020.

Today, Apple announced that all of its stores in New York City are closed including its flagship Fifth Avenue location. Other Apple Stores closed in the, ahem, Big Apple, include locations in Grand Central Station, World Trade Center, SoHo, and smaller stores in all of the five boroughs. While shoppers are not allowed inside any of the 16 affected facilities, Apple customers can still pick up products ordered online at these locations.

Apple Stores located in Westchester County, Long Island, New Jersey, and upstate New York are still open for foot traffic. Amy Bessette, an Apple spokeswoman, said on Monday, "We regularly monitor conditions and we will adjust our health measures to support the well-being of customers and employees. We remain committed to a comprehensive approach for our teams that combines regular testing with daily health checks, employee and customer masking, deep cleaning and paid sick leave."

In February 2020, Apple closed its stores in China as news about the Coronavirus first started gaining global attention. By the time March and April 2020 rolled along, Apple was closing all of its retail operations in the states. But by March 1st of this year, all 270 U.S. Apple Stores had reopened. And while Apple requested that customers wear masks only in areas with a mask mandate, two weeks ago it once again demanded that customers wear one at all U.S. stores.

Apple, like other employers in New York, not only has to deal with protecting its customers, it also is running short of able-bodied employees. Speaking of employees, Apple's white-collar workers were supposed to return to their offices in February. However, in a memo written by CEO Tim Cook and sent to Apple employees, the company put the kibosh on that plan and will now wait until the situation regarding the pandemic is more favorable in the states.

White-collar Apple workers will not be returning to the office in February as originally planned

In November, Apple had announced a hybrid-work schedule that was going to start in February, but which is now delayed. Under this plan, employees would have gone to the office each Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday while working from home each Wednesday and Friday. That plan is in limbo as Apple employees are once again being restricted from returning to their offices.

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On Christmas Eve, a small number of Apple employees walked off the job including Apple Store workers. Employees wanted more protection from abusive customers and improved working conditions among other requests. One of the things demanded by Apple employees was for consumers to be forced to schedule appointments to visit an Apple Store to shop or to get a device fixed.

With appointments required, the number of people inside a given location could be easily managed to protect those working inside the store from facing potentially contagious consumers. With the number of New York City residents catching COVID at record numbers, the only positive news is that the Omicron variant doesn't appear to as serious as other variants of the virus.

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