[Update 23 October] What is it Like Going to an Apple Store During The COVID-19 Pandemic?

LONDON – It had been a long time since I’d been to an Apple Store. I bought an iPad early in 2020 and then… well… COVID-19… you know the rest… However, I ordered an Apple Watch SE and saw it was available the next day at the Apple Store near my home, instead of in two-weeks time if I waited for delivery. So I grabbed my mask and off I headed.

Visiting an Apple Store During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Apple has put a number of safety provisions in place in its open retail outlets during the COVID-19 pandemic. These are all very apparent as soon as you arrive.

Apple Store Safety COVID-19 steps
Apple Store COVID-19 safety measures

I had to book a 15-minute slot and an order number was emailed to me ahead of time. You can add the voucher to the Wallet app and it is scanned by a masked member of staff. Multiple members of staff check the codes of those queuing outside. I was quickly guided to the doors of the store. There, I had my temperature checked. After that, I was escorted to stand at one of the tables where devices are usually displayed and Genius Appointments carried out. Nobody else was on that table and very few others were in the Apple Store itself. My new device was handed to me and off I went. The whole process probably took less than five minutes and felt very well organized and safe.

A couple of caveats: I arrived at the Apple Store just a minute or two before it opened for the day so there was no backlog and, consequently, minimal queueing. I was only picking up something that I’d already paid for, so my need to interact with staff, browse, or do anything else was also very limited. However, as I say, in typical Apple fashion there was a plan in place and it was executed well by the staff, making what could have been an uncomfortable experience into a fairly straightforward one.

[Update: 23 October, 2020]

I went to pick up my new iPhone 12 Pro from the same Apple Store. Considering the day new iPhones go on sale is one of the biggest days in Apple’s retail calendar, the process was once again amazingly efficient. My slot was also a couple of hours later in the day than when I went to pick up the Watch SE so I made sure to be there a little earlier so that I would be at the front of any queue and limit the time I spent hanging around. I checked in,  was seen very quickly, and my (prepaid for) device was handed to me within in just a couple of minutes.  I estimate the whole process, from arriving in the queue to leaving with my product was about seven minutes.

It was obviously much busier in the Apple Store than the other day, but staff made sure to limit the people in there and you had plenty of space around you. In fact, the only bit I did not particularly like was typing my email address into a device so that my receipt could be sent to me. However, the staff member I was with was wearing gloves and there was plenty of hand sanitizer  and antibacterial wipes around. The key elements to reassure you during the COVID-19 pandemic – social distancing and wearing a mask, were all observed in the Apple Store.

One thought on “[Update 23 October] What is it Like Going to an Apple Store During The COVID-19 Pandemic?

  • We were in one 2 weeks ago. My wife had dropped her iPad and cracked the screen. It was covered under AppleCare. We made an appointment at the Genus Bar and it was just as you describe. It was hot that day in San Diego and no shade at that time of day. Apple had several popup canopies in the mall walkway.

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