Apple CEO Tim Cook sent out a statement on Saturday morning detailing Apple’s worldwide response to COVID-19.
Among the steps taken, Apple will close its retail stores worldwide until March 27th.
The only exception is China, which includes Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, where the company reopened stores that had closed on February 2.
Stores already closed in Italy and Spain due to the pandemic will remain closed.
On Friday, Apple announced its spring WWDC developer event would go online-only.
According to Tim Cook, “In all of our offices, we are moving to flexible work arrangements worldwide outside of Greater China.”
For the affected workers, “All of our hourly workers will continue to receive pay in alignment as usual operations.
We have expanded our leave policies to accommodate personal or family health circumstances created by COVID-19.
It includes recovering from illness, caring for a sick loved one, mandatory quarantining or childcare challenges.”
As far as why the company would take drastic steps, Cook cited lessons learned as coronavirus initially spread in China.
“One of those lessons is that the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance.
As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we’re taking additional steps to protect our team members.”
In its Apple News app, the company sets up a dedicated section for information from trusted outlets.
Tim Cook said that while stores are closed customers should use the Apple website for service and support.
In our workplaces and communities, we must do all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Apple will be temporarily closing all stores outside of Greater China until March 27 and committing $15M to help with worldwide recovery. https://t.co/ArdMA43cFJ
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 14, 2020