CNBC reports Apple will start reopening its Apple Store retail locations in the United States next week. The process, and it is a process, will begin with locations in Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska.
Apple will limit the number of customers allowed in a store at a time, and staff will perform temperature checks at the door.
“We’re excited to begin reopening stores in the US next week, starting with some stores in Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama and Alaska. Our team is constantly monitoring local heath data and government guidance, and as soon as we can safely open our stores, we will.”
“Our new social distance protocol allows for a limited number of visitors in the store at one time so there may be a delay for walk-in customers. We recommend, where possible, customers buy online for contactless delivery or in-store pick up.”
Overall, Apple will likely take the same measures it has in its lone South Korean, which are as follows (via MacRumors):
- Prior to when work starts, all employees undergo a health screening complete with a temperature check, with the results logged in a daily spreadsheet.
- Daily briefings are done in the mornings in the Forum area at Apple Stores, with employees making sure to sit at least two meters apart.
- Prior to being allowed in the store, customers are also given a temperature check.
- All Apple Stores are providing hand sanitizer, which customers are encouraged to use.
- Stores are limiting the number of people inside, forming lines with customers waiting at least two meters apart.
- Products purchased by customers or returned after repair are delivered from the back in a relay system, being handed off from employee to employee to allow each person to stay in a separated zone without back and forth.
- Product specialists and Genius Bar staff are positioning themselves across tables away from customers in order to maintain distance.
- In the forum area, employees sit one cube away from customers they’re interacting with.
- Employees are encouraged to communicate with one another through the Talk app to cut down on unnecessary movement within the store.
- Half of the workstations in the back are empty, with employees working at alternating workstations to keep more distance between them.
- Tables have been rearranged to put products on corners to prevent customers from being near one another.
- Products on tables have been reduced.
- Communal tables and couches have been removed from employee break rooms and have been replaced with individual chairs evenly spaced about the room.
- Operating hours are reduced.
- Employees are all wearing face masks.
Apple CEO Tim Cook told participants on last week’s earnings call that Apple had plans for reopening some stores in the U.S. during May. Store reopenings will be made on a city-by-city basis, depending on local data and guidelines for which stores will reopen.