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Apple’s COVID-19 response – store closures and more to curb virus spread

We covered COVID-19 at length last week, but it seems as though the virus will dominate the news cycle for a while longer as it continues to wreak havoc on various industries. Apple yesterday posted an open letter from Tim Cook, explaining some of the ways the company is responding to the ever-changing threat of Coronavirus. Here’s a quick recap of everything from the letter, including additional details that have come to light in the hours since.

Store closures

Apple has closed nearly all its retail stores worldwide until at least March 27. Online stores remain open, as does customer support – but it won’t be in person for the time being.

As this article goes out, a few select stores remain open solely for in-store pickup – but by the end of the day, even those will be closed.

However, in what could be seen as relatively good news, all stores in Greater China have now reopened, signaling things are slowly returning to normal there.

Changes for customers

Apple News has a new COVID-19 section, offering verified reporting from trusted news outlets. Apple is also fast-tracking Coronovirus apps from reputable sources to keep its users on top of the facts.

The company is also allowing Apple Card owners to skip their March payments without being charged interest – but only if they apply for its ‘Customer Assistance Program.’

WWDC reimagined

With health organizations cracking down on large gatherings, Apple has had to get creative with this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

The annual meetup, in which Apple is due to reveal iOS 14 to the world, will still take place – but this year WWDC will be entirely online, in an experimental new format.

Remote working

Apple is encouraging all its employees to work from home wherever possible, though many workers have reportedly been finding it difficult due to the company’s tight secrecy rules.

Hourly workers will continue to receive normal pay during this time, and Apple has expanded its leave policies to allow time off for extenuating personal or family circumstances related to the virus.

You can read Tim Cook’s letter in full here. We’re sure this won’t be the last of the Coronavirus news – stay tuned, and stay safe.