Apple closes stores through March 27 in response to spread of COVID-19

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FILE – In this Sept. 16, 2016 file photo, a customer compares her iPhone 6, left, with an iPhone 7 at an Apple Store in Chicago. IPhone owners could get $25 from Apple after the company agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle claims over intentionally slowing down older phones to preserve older batteries. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Apple announced it is closing stores outside of Greater China until March 27th.

Apple says technical help will be provided through its apps and website.

“In our workplaces and communities, we must do all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” CEO Tim Cook tweeted Saturday. “Apple will be temporarily closing all stores outside of Greater China until March 27 and committing $15M to help with worldwide recovery.”

In a lengthier online statement, Cook said that Apple’s stores in China have all now reopened and what the company has learned there has helped it develop “best practices that are assisting enormously in our global response.”

One of the lessons Apple learned in China is that “the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance,” he said. That’s why the company is taking new steps to protect workers and customers as the infection rate rises in other places.

Apple’s online stores remain open. Workers will continue to be paid and office staff will work remotely if possible, Cook said in the statement issued Friday.

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