Apple reverses course, closes some US stores in virus hotspots

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SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Apple said Friday it was closing some stores in US states experiencing a surge in coronavirus infections, reversing course after reopening many of its retail locations.

The iPhone maker said it was closing six of its retail stores in Arizona, along with two each in North Carolina and Florida and one in South Carolina.

The stores are in states where COVID-19 infections are on the rise despite a decline in most regions of the United States.

“Due to current COVID-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement.

“We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible.”

Apple closed its US stores as the pandemic hit the country, and last month began gradually reopening the locations as lockdowns and restrictions were relaxed. Some stores were boarded up or closed as a result of unrest during protests over police brutality in the past few weeks.

The tech giant said its stores would have new protocols as they reopen including limiting the number of customers who can be inside, meaning probable delays for those who spontaneously stop by for technical help from a “Genius Bar.”

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