Shoppers in the Big Apple shouldn’t expect to do any in-store browsing at the tech giant of the same name as the retail chain responds to a surge in new coronavirus cases.
Apple closed all 12 of its New York City retail locations to indoor shopping on Monday, Reuters reported. The company didn’t say when the stores are expected to reopen, but customers can still visit locations to pick up online orders.
The company previously closed at least eight of its retail stores across North America between Dec. 22 and 23 due to a rise in cases, Bloomberg reported. The outlet noted the stores typically shutter when around 10 percent of its employees test positive for COVID-19.
Apple has maintained an in-store mask mandate for customers and employees.
“We regularly monitor conditions, and we will adjust our health measures to support the well-being of customers and employees,” Apple said in a statement reported by Bloomberg. “We remain committed to a comprehensive approach for our teams that combines regular testing with daily health checks, employee and customer masking, deep cleaning and paid sick leave.”
The temporary closures come days after at least 50 Apple retail employees walked out on the job in demand of better working conditions, including sick pay and other benefits related to working through the pandemic.
While Apple’s retail employees have been working in stores throughout the pandemic, the company’s white-collar employees have not had the same experience. Employees for the company were originally expected to return to the office in early September, before that was delayed by case surges amid the Delta variant’s spread.
It’s not clear when the company’s office employees will be returning to in-person work. The New York Times previously reported Apple ditched its plans this month to bring employees back to the office in February. Virus conditions will dictate the return date for employees, which remains to be determined.
[Reuters] — Holden Walter-Warner