The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the United States, forcing retailers to shut down stores and attempt to anticipate when they may reopen. Apple is no exception.
Apple closed all of its retail stores outside of Great China on March 13, with the intent of reopening them sometime after March 27. The temporary closures were then made indefinite later on. Now comes word that the Cupertino firm expects its U.S. retail stores to remain closed until early May.
9to5Mac obtained a message sent to store employees by Apple’s SVP of Retail + People Deirdre O’Brien. In the message, O’Brien assures employees that Apple will continue to support them during the outbreak and tells them that flexible work arrangements will continue to be in place.
The full memo from O’Brien:
Thank you to all our teams for staying connected, supporting one another, and keeping our Apple family the innovative and compassionate team it’s always been — in good times and challenging ones.
I first want to share an update on Apple’s COVID-19 response here in the US. At this time, we anticipate that flexible work arrangements will remain in place for all offices, and all Retail stores will remain closed, until early May. We are continuing to monitor local conditions for every Apple facility on a daily basis, and we will make our reopening decisions on the basis of thorough, thoughtful reviews and the latest guidance from local governments and public health experts. As always, you can check the People site for the latest information.
I also want to recognize our COVID-19 Response Team, which is doing an amazing job evaluating how COVID-19 affects everyone at Apple and making sure we take every step to protect the health and safety of our communities. The executive team is meeting daily and closely coordinating with teams across the company, and together, we’re navigating a public health crisis that affects every place and every person differently.
Wherever you are, I want to underscore that Apple’s focus is on supporting you. Whether it’s caring for a sick loved one, caring for a child, or a health challenge you’re facing — our goal is to make sure everyone has the flexibility, the support system and the resources to stay well, mind and body. We know many parents are balancing homeschooling with working, and our teams are working on options to make sure parents have the support and the flexibility to adjust their schedules as needed. We’re encouraging all our team members to be open with their managers about the challenges they’re facing, to ask for flexibility if and when they need it — and we want our managers to know they are empowered to accommodate their team members’ specific needs. In that spirit of caring for ourselves and for one another, I want to remind everyone of the Employee Assistance Program. EAP has so many great resources — including counseling, financial coaching and other work-life tools — to help guide and support you through challenging times. It’s there for you 24/7, and it’s another reminder of the depth of resources available to you. Finally, I know all of us are sending our best wishes to members of our Apple family who are ill. We are one global community — all of us are impacted by one another’s suffering. Please know that our thoughts are with you, always.
Thank you for all that you bring to Apple, and for the example of positivity, compassion, and teamwork you set for one another and for the world. See you soon.