Apple has restricted employee travel to Italy or South Korea, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak affecting those countries.
“We have instituted specific travel restrictions in a few countries including China, South Korea, and Italy,” the company told employees in a memo outlining its latest response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Bloomberg reports employees are only allowed to travel to those regions for business-critical reasons and must get approval from a company vice president.
Apple recommends employees manage meetings through phone calls and video chats.
“There are many ways to continue to manage our ongoing meetings and activities through calls and video. If you do have travel planned, we suggest you work with your managers to consider delaying or canceling business travel which could be postponed or managed through virtual meetings.”
Apple had already restricted employee travel to China. That travel ban is becoming an issue, as Apple engineers traditionally visit China to prepare for the manufacturing of new iPhones.
Apple’s single Italian supplier, STMicroelectronics, works with multiple suppliers in South Korea. Apple camera module supplier LG Innotek, shut down earlier this week when a worker tested positive for the coronavirus. The Gumi, South Korea factory is near Daegu, where many of the COVID-19 cases in the country are centered.
Apple operates one store in South Korea, which hasn’t yet been shuttered due to the coronavirus, and 17 in Italy. Some Italian stores are being closed temporarily as part of a government effort to stem the spread of the virus.
Apple says “deep cleaning protocols” are considered a “top priority” and have been put in effect across stores, offices, and employee shuttles. Apple recommends that any employee who is sick, especially with a fever or severe cough, should take sick leave “until they have fully recovered.”