Apple’s retail reopening plan: Temperature checks, mandatory masks

People wearing face masks look at a cell phone outside an Apple Store during the May 1 holiday in Shanghai on May 1, 2020.

Hector Retamal | AFP | Getty Images

Apple released its master plan on Sunday evening to find out how it will reopen its retail stores once it is safe, according to official guidelines for coronavirus health. It will also reopen 25 stores in the United States this week.

When reopening a store, customers must submit to a temperature control and wear a mask before entering the store, as directed, written by Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s sales and human resources boss. If a customer does not have a mask, Apple will provide one.

Customers will also be screened for other symptoms caused by Covid-19, such as a cough. Apple said occupancy will be limited in stores and that employees will focus on “personalized personalized service.”

Apple also announced on Sunday several stores in the United States that will reopen this week. Some stores will allow customers to enter, while others will only offer curbside pickup. Apple stores will reopen this week in a handful of states: Florida, California (sidewalk service), Washington (sidewalk service), Hawaii, Oklahoma and Colorado.

O’Brien said the stores would reopen according to local official guidelines and Apple’s own data, and could even close again if the lock controls in a certain area were to be removed.

Here’s the full letter from O’Brien from Apple on retail reopenings that was released Sunday evening:

Since we started reacting and adapting to COVID – 19 in January, Apple has let care guide our decisions: taking care of our teams, taking care of our customers and taking care of our communities.

It meant being there for our customers because they depend on our products in new ways: to keep learning while the classrooms are closed, to stay connected because we stayed apart, to stay creative at a time when we all have need entertainment and to stay healthy at a time when health is so priority.

It also means stepping up new ways to support the public health response, including Apple’s efforts to source more than 30 million masks and 10 million custom face masks for doctors and nurses, our work to design software to help users check symptoms and help health workers inform those who may have been exposed, and our partnership with manufacturers in the United States to deploy more than one million test kits per week.

And that meant taking the unprecedented step of closing almost all of our retail stores around the world to protect the health and well-being of our customers and our teams.

To date, almost 100 of our stores around the world have been able to reopen their doors to our customers. We wanted to share a little bit about how we live up to our commitment to care: how it informs our decision making, the important steps we take to keep everyone safe who visits one of our stores and the ways in which our stores will be a little different.

Our approach to reopening our stores

First, let’s remember how we got here. In China and then around the world, we were one of the first companies to close our stores. In Greater China, we have seen the importance of rapid action – and the critical importance of social distance – to slow the spread of the virus. And, over time, we have continued to refine and expand our store health and safety measures, which have proven to be so effective in places like Greater China, where our stores have been open safely for months .

Our commitment is to only reopen after having acquired the certainty of being able to return safely to customers of our stores. We review all available data – including local cases, short and long term trends and advice from national and local health authorities. These are not decisions we rush into – and opening a store in no way means that we will not take the preventive measure to close it if local conditions warrant.

When a store in your area takes this step to reopen – which you can check using the Find a Store search tool – you will find the same helpful and dedicated teams that were there before we closed, but things may seem and turn out to be feel a little different. On the one hand, you will end up with a lot of space.

In each store, we strive to limit occupancy and give everyone a lot of space, and to renew our attention to personalized personalized service at the Genius Bar and throughout the store.

We are also taking additional measures in most places. Face covers will be required for all of our teams and clients, and we will provide them to clients who do not bring their own. Temperature checks will be done at the door and posted health questions will help identify those who have symptoms – such as cough or fever – or who have recently been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Throughout the day, we perform improved deep cleanings that place special emphasis on all surfaces, display products and heavily trafficked areas.

We have also taken the time to think about how to respond even more effectively to the needs of our customers, whether online or in our stores. For many stores, this will mean a curbside pickup and drop off. If you choose to buy online, we can ship to your home or make your new items available for convenient pickup at our stores. And you can continue to find the same great level of customer service and support online and over the phone to answer all your questions.

The road to follow

The response to COVID – 19 is still in progress, and we recognize that the return journey will experience twists and turns. But whatever the challenges ahead, COVID-19 has only strengthened our confidence in people – in our teams, in our customers, in our communities. At the end of the day, when we think about COVID-19, we always have to remember how many people around the world put the well-being of others at the center of their daily lives. At Apple, we plan to advance these values, and we will always put the health and safety of our customers and our teams first.

Thank you for everything you do to support the COVID-19 response – whether it’s volunteering, donating, sharing gratitude for our medical workers or maintaining social distance to protect the health of our communities.

Stay well, stay safe and we hope to see you soon.

Deirdre

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