Over the last two days, the state of Florida has seen the number of new COVID-19 cases rise to more than 5,000 each day. The rise in new cases happened after beaches in some parts of the state were reopened leading to large gatherings of people, many of whom were not wearing a mask or following social distancing guidelines. Florida isn't the only state where cases and hospitalizations are rising and the increase in testing has nothing to do with it. In fact, the Governor of Texas has halted the reopening of the state as the number of new cases continues to rebound there.
Apple closes stores in Florida and Texas the last two days as coronavirus cases rebound strongly in those two states
has had a tough time reopening U.S. Apple Stores. After shutting in parts of March and all of April, 25 stateside Apple Stores were set to turn on the lights
when Americans sick of what they saw as police brutality protested the murder of George Floyd. Apple ended up closing all of its U.S. stores to keep employees from getting hurt after stores in Portland, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Charleston, Washington, D.C., Scottsdale, and San Francisco were damaged. In Minneapolis, one store was looted, boarded up, looted again, and boarded up again. In Portland, tall windows on all sides of the store at Pioneer Place were smashed and the location forced to close just two days after reopening.
The Apple Store in Aventura Florida, one of the locations temporarily closed by Apple
Last week, Apple shut down 11 American stores
as COVID-19 cases started to rise. The stores closed included two locations in Naples, Florida; another two stores close to Charlotte, North Carolina; one located in Greenville, South Carolina; and six in Arizona. Today, CNBC reports
that Apple has announced the shuttering of 14 more stores in Florida alone. That brings to 32 the total number of Apple Stores that have been closed for a second time due to the pandemic. Just yesterday, seven stores in Texas turned off their lights temporarily because of COVID-19. An Apple spokesman said, "Due to current COVID-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas. We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible."
The stores closing in Florida are located in six counties (Hillsborough, Orange, Seminole, Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade). The exact locations include these stores located in the Sunshine State:
- The Galleria
- The Falls
- Lincoln Road
- Brickell City Centre
- Wellington Green
- Boca Raton
- The Gardens Mall
- Florida Mall
- International Plaza
Locations that have reopened are taking measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus including temperature checks for customers entering a store, requiring consumers to wear masks, and using social distancing to keep people at least 6-feet apart. Some locations are only providing curbside service or service by appointment. The 14 stores in Florida that Apple said it was closing will be shut down starting Friday morning.
When the pandemic first started forcing Apple to close its retail stores, the company promised to continue paying store employees even if they did nothing but sit at home watching television test patterns all day. However, Apple did ask some Apple Store employees to offer technical support to Apple device owners calling for help. These employees were sent 27-inch Macs and asked to work out of a quiet room in their house. It isn't clear whether Apple is planning on asking those working in stores that are closing again to once again man the phone to handle technical support calls.
So what will the immediate future be for Apple's brick and mortar stores? For now, we can't imagine that Apple will close all of its retail locations and will probably have to make decisions on a state-by-state basis.