[UPDATE March 17 – A banner on Apple’s website now says stores are closed until further notice.]
Apple took a number of steps over the weekend in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Notably, every Apple Store outside of Greater China has been closed. Apple said the retail locations will be shuttered until March 27.
Apple Commits $15 Million in COVID-19 Donations
CEO Tim Cook made the announcement on a note published publicly on Friday evening. As well as the store closures, all production on Apple TV+ shows from outside studios has been suspended (via MacRumors). This includes The Morning Show, and the newly announced Suspicion, starring Uma Thurman.
Mr. Cook also announced that Apple will match all employee donations by a factor of two-to-one to support the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It has also committed $15 million towards helping with healthcare, economic and community of the coronavirus pandemic.
Staff to Continue to Receive Pay
Furthermore, he confirmed that all hourly will workers will continue to be paid their usual rate and that Apple has extended its leave policies. This will cover those who may fall ill, be caring for loved ones, facing quarantine or be hit by childcare complications.
In the statement, Mr. Cook said:
There is no mistaking the challenge of this moment. The entire Apple family is indebted to the heroic first responders, doctors, nurses, researchers, public health experts and public servants globally who have given every ounce of their spirit to help the world meet this moment. We do not yet know with certainty when the greatest risk will be behind us. And yet I have been inspired by the humanity and determination I have seen from all corners of our global community.
The latest announcement came just days after Apple confirmed that WWDC 2020 will be online only. The company has not said the decision was taken specifically in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, both Mr. Cook and senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller indicated that it had influenced the decision. There is also now an Apple News section dedicated to coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak.