Three hundred and fifty four days after Apple closed all of its retail stores outside Greater China on March 13, 2020, the company has resumed daily functioning and activities in all stores in the 51 states across the US.
All 270 stores are now able to accept Express pickups of online orders with some being allowed to offer in-store shopping appointment. The newest locations to complete the reopening were in Texas cities of Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, all of which opened yesterday, Monday.
Apple stores have been caught in a debacle of decisions in the past year on whether or not to resume operations. The tech giants slated May 11, 2020 as its first reopening date, when the scope of the covid-19 pandemic had not been fully ascertained, but decided against going ahead as earlier planned due to huge spikes in confirmed cases that shook the core of the United States. After this, over four unsuccessful attempts were made to initiate resumption at various centers but the curve of the pandemic kept skyrocketing up the charts.
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Aside unprecedented health concerns, Apple were also set back by looting and vandalism in May 2020 in their Portland store at the height of nationwide protests set off by the death of George Floyd. To further delay any opening, a community mural of the deceased, that proved popular, was emblazoned on the store’s front, with Apple having to wait till late January 2021 before a protest group accepted to remove the panels.
In California, wildfires and subsequent heatwaves deterred curbside operations while Election Day and Inauguration Day in federal territory, DC, raised security tensions and questions that Apple were obliged to answer. Recently, in Texas, severe winter storms and the resulting power outage have brought its own headaches and delays to a seamless run of operation.
Apple Stores, however, still enforce health and safety guidelines that include reduced occupancy and a mask requirement, while also continuously evaluating local COVID-19 conditions. This leaves a high probability that some stores could temporarily close or return to Express operations in the coming weeks.
Apple will be looking to leverage on their blistering performance in the fourth quarter of 2020 as customers look forward to the release of the iPhone 13 which promises a fresher upgrades and newer milestones.
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