Apple’s retail stores have been closed in the United States since March, but the company is about to begin reopening a small number of stores starting next week.
Reported by 9to5Mac, the first stores to reopen will be in Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska. Based on available COVID-19 infection data, these states, for the most part, do not appear to be hotspots for the virus, which could explain why Apple has chosen them.
“Apple will focus its initial reopening efforts on regions less impacted by infection,” reads the report. “The first Apple Stores in the U.S. to begin welcoming customers again are located in Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska. Apple operates six stores across the four states.”
Apple will reportedly be instituting new safety protocols at its stores, including temperature checks and limitations on the number of customers who can be inside the store at one time. Customers will be required to wear masks but apparently Apple will provide them to those without one. The company is recommending that customers continue to buy online for delivery and pick up as the new restrictions may slow down in-store assistance.
“We recommend, where possible, customers buy online for contactless delivery or in-store pick up,” an Apple spokesperson said.
Apple closed all its stores outside China in early March, while reopening its stores in the Asian country that had been closed in February due to the initial outbreak in Wuhan. The company has since reopened one store in South Korea’s capital, Seoul, as well as all stores in Australia and Austria. All Apple stores in Germany will also reopen on Monday.
The company has 510 stores worldwide, 271 of which are in the United States.