England will once again be locked down, beginning Thursday, November 5, due to a steep rise in the number of coronavirus cases. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the lockdown will last for at least four weeks. All non-essential shops and services (including Apple stores) will be closed.
Johnson said during a televised news conference that “no responsible prime minister” could ignore the grim figures.
“Unless we act, we could see deaths in this country running at several thousand a day,” said Johnson, who was hospitalized earlier this year for a serious case of COVID-19.
The lockdown will likely affect Apple’s iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max sales numbers in its first three weeks of sales, as the lockdown kicks in just over one week before the launch of those two devices, on Friday, November 13.
Prime Minister Johnson said the strict measures will include shuttering restaurants, pubs, gyms, non-essential shops, and places of worship. People will be forced to stay at home except for essential reasons, including work that cannot be performed at home, child care and education, outdoor exercise, essential shopping, and medical care.
The shutdown means Apple’s 32 stores in England will be closed until at least Wednesday, December 2. Express storefront operations will also likely be shuttered, meaning customers will not be able to pick up a new iPhone 12 mini or iPhone 12 Pro Max when they launch at the end of next week. The HomePod mini, which also launched on the 13th, will also be restricted to delivery only.
Apple’s England locations will join stores in Wales and Northern Island, which are already closed. Apple’s Glasglow and Edinburgh stores will remain open for now.
Online pre-orders for the new iPhone 12 mini and Pro Max will begin this Friday, and shipments of those orders are not expected to be impacted to any great degree, as Royal Mail and delivery companies are excluded from the shutdown restrictions.