Apple Restricting Employee Travel, Shutting Store Location in Response to Coronavirus Outbreak

Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Tuesday that the company began limiting employee travel to China last week amid the coronavirus outbreak, and that Apple has closed one store in mainland China and reduced operating hours for other retail locations.

Yesterday, Apple reported an all-time record revenue of $91.8 billion USD during Q1 2020. The figures indicate that Apple’s iPhone, wearables, and services, all grew the Cupertino, California giant compared to the previous years.

However, while announcing the results, Cook hinted at the potential corollaries of the recent novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China. And given the uncertainty and unpredictability of the situation, Apple has taken precautions for the deadly disease, explains a new report from CNBC.

“The situation is emerging, and we’re still gathering lots of data points and monitoring it very closely,” Cook said during a call with analysts after the company reported record earnings. He noted that as of last week, Apple had limited employee travel to affected areas to “business critical situations.”

Apple also closed a store in China because of the coronavirus, and “a number” of its retail partners have also closed their locations, Cook said. “Many of the stores that remain open have also reduced operating hours,” Cook said, and the company is taking extra precautions for its staff and customers. It’s deep cleaning its stores frequently and conducting temperature checks of retail workers to make sure they remain healthy.

“While our sales within the Wuhan area itself are small, retail traffic has also been impacted outside of this area across the country in the last few days,” Cook said.

Yesterday, Apple supplier Foxconn has said that the outbreak won’t affect production.

“Foxconn is closely monitoring the current public health challenge linked to the coronavirus and we are applying all recommended health and hygiene practices to all aspects of our operations in the affected markets,” the Taiwanese company says. “Our facilities in China are following holiday schedules and will continue to do so until all businesses have resumed standard operating hours.”

The statement is referring to the Chinese government’s extension of the Lunar New Year holiday, an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus by encouraging citizens to stay home and avoid travel.

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