Apple is closing more stores in response to the return of COVID-19. Bloomberg Reports indicate that the iPhone maker has temporarily closed three stores in the United States and Canada after increases in exposure and outbreaks among employees. Stores in Annapolis (Annapolis Mall), Miami (Brickell City Center) and Ottawa (Rideau Center) will remain closed until December 18 or December 19.
It is not clear how many employees have developed COVID-19 in the affected stores. In a statement to BloombergApple reiterated a previous statement indicating that it “regularly monitors[s]“Pandemic Situations and has a ‘comprehensive’ store safety initiative that includes daily health checks, masks, extra cleaning and paid sick leave. All workers will have to take COVID-19 tests before they can return.”
There is no confirmation of a close like this that will continue in the near future. With infection rates rising and uncertainty about the Omicron variant of the new coronavirus, it wouldn’t be surprising if there were more until this latest wave is gone.
The move also underscores the ongoing risks to retail employees at many stores, not just Apple Stores. While many retail employees have to wear masks and share their health status, they can’t necessarily avoid sick customers — and there are concerns that Apple store managers have pressured their subordinates to attend despite showing symptoms of COVID-19. Stores can reduce the risk, but they cannot avoid it completely as long as the disease persists.
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