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As the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen, Apple has made the decision to keep all of its retail stores in the United States closed until at least May. In a message obtained by 9to5Mac, Apple’s SVP of Retail + People Deirdre O’Brien reassured store employees that Apple will continue to support them during this difficult time.
After closing every location outside of Greater China abruptly on March 13, Apple Stores were originally scheduled to reopen after March 27. The temporary closures were later made indefinite.
In addition to daily condition monitoring for every Apple facility, O’Brien notes that flexible work arrangements will remain in place. Frequent updates to store teams have provided regular guidance to cut through uncertainty. This includes the option to work remotely as an AppleCare At Home Advisor, if an employee wishes.
Read the full memo below:
Thank you to all our teams for staying connected, supporting one another, and keeping our Apple family the innovative and compassionate team it’s always been — in good times and challenging ones.
I first want to share an update on Apple’s COVID-19 response here in the US. At this time, we anticipate that flexible work arrangements will remain in place for all offices, and all Retail stores will remain closed, until early May. We are continuing to monitor local conditions for every Apple facility on a daily basis, and we will make our reopening decisions on the basis of thorough, thoughtful reviews and the latest guidance from local governments and public health experts. As always, you can check the People site for the latest information.
I also want to recognize our COVID-19 Response Team, which is doing an amazing job evaluating how COVID-19 affects everyone at Apple and making sure we take every step to protect the health and safety of our communities. The executive team is meeting daily and closely coordinating with teams across the company, and together, we’re navigating a public health crisis that affects every place and every person differently.
Wherever you are, I want to underscore that Apple’s focus is on supporting you. Whether it’s caring for a sick loved one, caring for a child, or a health challenge you’re facing — our goal is to make sure everyone has the flexibility, the support system and the resources to stay well, mind and body. We know many parents are balancing homeschooling with working, and our teams are working on options to make sure parents have the support and the flexibility to adjust their schedules as needed. We’re encouraging all our team members to be open with their managers about the challenges they’re facing, to ask for flexibility if and when they need it — and we want our managers to know they are empowered to accommodate their team members’ specific needs.
In that spirit of caring for ourselves and for one another, I want to remind everyone of the Employee Assistance Program. EAP has so many great resources — including counseling, financial coaching and other work-life tools — to help guide and support you through challenging times. It’s there for you 24/7, and it’s another reminder of the depth of resources available to you.
Finally, I know all of us are sending our best wishes to members of our Apple family who are ill. We are one global community — all of us are impacted by one another’s suffering. Please know that our thoughts are with you, always.
Thank you for all that you bring to Apple, and for the example of positivity, compassion, and teamwork you set for one another and for the world. See you soon.
A memo published last week by O’Brien suggested that some Apple Stores could begin reopening in mid-April as local conditions allowed. In each case, an abundance of caution will be exercised to ensure the safety of employees and customers. When stores reopen, social distancing policies will likely resemble those trialed in China, where all of Apple’s locations have reopened.
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