Apple will reopen all 42 of its stores in China on Friday, following a month-long country-wide closure due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. However, nearly every Apple Store in the country will operate under reduced hours for the foreseeable future.
In a statement to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman on Thursday, Apple said all Chinese retail locations will open for business on Friday local time.
Apple confirms all 42 of its stores in mainland China will have re-opened as of Friday local time.
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) March 12, 2020
Apple’s Chinese retail website provides confirmation of the reopenings but notes that all stores will be operating under reduced hours on March 12.
On Saturday, Apple Center 66 in Wuxi is scheduled to return to normal operating hours, with Apple Chaoyang Joy City and Apple Tahoe Plaza expected to follow suit on Thursday, March 19. The remaining Apple Stores in the country will apparently operate under limited hours until further notice.
Apple began temporarily closing its retail stores in China back in January, as the company began assessing the coronavirus outbreak in the country, which began in the Wuhan province. Apple also closed all corporate offices and call centers in the country in February, as Apple took the lead from actions taken by the Chinese government.
Chinese Apple stores began to reopen in mid-February. 29 locations had been reopened as of February 24. The number of reopening stores has increased steadily over the past two weeks.
While China appears to be returning to a somewhat normal schedule, Apple closed its string of stores in Italy earlier this week, as the government there put the entire country on lockdown. Italy is second only to China in being worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak, reporting on Thursday that there were 12,462 confirmed cases in the country, with 827 deaths so far.
Apple has taken action around the globe in the hopes of minimizing the spread of the virus, canceling “Today at Apple” sessions at many stores, and urging employees to stay at least one meter away from customers and coworkers, as well as limiting Apple Watch and AirPods try-ons in an effort to help prevent the possible spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.