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Apple tells US retail staff to work from home until early May

Apple has told its Apple Store retail staff in the United States to work from home until early May, confirming that the company had no intention of opening its stores before that time.

Speaking in a memo to its employees, which was shared by one to Bloomberg, Apple’s head of retail Deirdre O’Brien said that the company was “continuing to monitor local conditions for every Apple facility on a daily basis” and that the firm would not reopen its stores until it was sure that it was safe to do so, following “guidance from local governments and public health experts” before making any major decisions.

Apple continues to encourage staff to work from home under flexible arrangements, helping with online enquires and virtual Genius Bar appointments and this arrangement will be in place across all of the company’s workforce, including offices and Apple Park staff, until at least early May, though it’s likely that this will be extended as the virus continues to spread.

Apple Park is located in Santa Clara County, and a shelter in place order means that staff cannot leave their homes except for essentials until early May. It’s likely that Apple will follow guidance from this location in determining when it will re-open its retail and office locations.

O’Brien said in the memo that the Cupertino company was working on options so that parents could adjust their working schedules where possible, as many staffers are looking after their children whilst working from home due to school and college closures.

Apple previously suggested that it would reopen its stores in April, and though that might be the plan in some other parts of the world (indeed, Apple has reopened its Chinese retail outlets following their coronavirus outbreak and country-wide lockdown), it’s likely that the majority of stores will remain shuttered for a considerable period, perhaps three months.

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