Apple takes action to close most U.S. stores after looting occurs

Apple takes action to close most U.S. stores after looting occurs
Some Apple Stores were looted last night as the U.S. suffered through another night of violent protests related to the death of George Floyd. Floyd was killed when a Minneapolis police officer put his knee into the man's neck for nine minutes even though he was handcuffed, compliant with all of the officers' demands, and no longer a threat. All four officers were fired and one charged with third-degree murder.

To protect its employees from the violence, Apple has decided to temporarily close some of its brick and mortar locations. These stores had only recently reopened after being shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Apple Stores that were damaged or looted included locations in Portland, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Charleston, Washington, D.C., Scottsdale, and San Francisco. Some of the stores that were heavily damaged are closed indefinitely while others will reopen on Monday. Apple today said, "With the health and safety of our teams in mind, we’ve made the decision to keep a number of our stores in the US closed on Sunday."

One Twitter subscriber named Brian Mitchell (@BrianMitchL) tweeted about the Apple Store Uptown located in Minneapolis. The store was looted, boarded up, looted again, and boarded up again. In Portland, the Apple Store at Pioneer Place had tall windows smashed on all sides. This location had just reopened two days ago and it now will take some time to repair the store to make it safe for customers. Video from Portland's KOIN 12 shows people running into the aforementioned Apple Store and running out with boxes of iPhones and Macs in their hands.

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What the looters probably don't know is that the iPhones that they steal from looted stores won't work. Since 2016, demo iPhones in a particular Apple Store do not work if removed from that store. In the latter situation, these demo units will only respond to "Find My iPhone."

Out of the 271 U.S. Apple Stores, 140 stores had reopened over the last couple of weeks. It isn't clear whether the violence will delay the reopening of the remaining 131 locations. Apple's retail chiefDeirdre O'Brien said earlier this month that "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."

If you decide to visit an open Apple Store, O'Brien says, "In every store, we're focused on limiting occupancy and giving everybody lots of room, and renewing our focus on one‑on‑one, personalized service at the Genius Bar and throughout the store. We’re also taking some additional steps in most places. Face coverings will be required for all of our teams and customers, and we will provide them to customers who don’t bring their own. Temperature checks will be conducted at the door, and posted health questions will screen for those with symptoms — like cough or fever — or who have had recent exposure to someone infected with COVID‑19. Throughout the day, we're conducting enhanced deep cleanings that place special emphasis on all surfaces, display products, and highly trafficked areas."

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fiscal third quarter for Apple was looking glum even before the looting forced the company to close most U.S. Apple Stores today. And again, stores with extensive damage are going to be closed for some time.

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