Apple is temporarily closing its 42 stores in mainland China, one of its largest markets, as Coronavirus spreads rapidly. The company is closing all its retail stores and corporate offices in mainland China through February 9th out of an “abundance of caution” and in consultation from experts. Apple had initially closed three stores, but this shuts down a full 42 locations across the country.
Apple said in a statement it was closing stores, corporate offices and contact centres in China until February 9, “out of an abundance of caution and based on the latest advice from leading health experts” it said.
“Our thoughts are with the people most immediately affected by the coronavirus and with those working around the clock to study and contain it,” the statement said.
Key suppliers like Foxconn have said they don’t expect problems meeting production goals for companies like Apple. Caution is still the order of the day, however. Apple chief Tim Cook said that expectations for the start of the calendar year were unusually vague due to virus-related uncertainty. Sales at stores had dropped across China in recent days, even outside of the coronavirus epicenter of Wuhan.
Other companies have closed stores and offices, or have made special accommodations. Tesla, for instance, is offering free Supercharger access so that its EV owners and their friends can get around without having to rely on public transport.
The announcement comes as the death toll there rose to 259 on Saturday.