Apple to start gradual reopening of US stores next week

Apple will begin opening its American retail stores next week.

The reopening of its 271 US locations — which have been shuttered in March due to the coronavirus — will be gradual, starting with six stores in Alabama, Alaska, South Carolina and Idaho, the company said.

“We’re excited to begin reopening stores in the US next week,” an Apple representative told CNBC, which first reported the news. “Our team is constantly monitoring local health data and government guidance, and as soon as we can safely open our stores, we will.”

The reopened stores require temperature checks for employees and customers and will limit the number of people in the store at any one time. The stores will also focus more on repairing products and preparing items for pick-up than making in-store sales, according to Apple, which has launched a number of products via press release over the past two months and then selling them on its website.

“Our new social distance protocol allows for a limited number of visitors in the store at one time so there may be a delay for walk-in customers,” Apple said. “We recommend, where possible, customers buy online for contactless delivery or in-store pick up.”

Apple first closed its stores for two weeks on March 4, before extending the closure “indefinitely” on March 17.

“The most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance,” CEO Tim Cook said at the time.

All retail employees have continued to receive regular paychecks during the duration of the closures, Apple told The Post.

Shares of Apple closed up 2.4 percent Friday, at $310.13.

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