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Apple closes eight stores amid COVID surge: report

Apple has temporarily closed at least eight retail stores in the US and Canada since Tuesday as cases of the coronavirus surge among customers and employees, according to a report from Bloomberg. The Cupertino, California-based company typically closes a retail store when roughly 10 percent of staff members test positive for COVID-19, the publication said. Bloomberg reported the following store closures since Tuesday: Dadeland in Miami, The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach, Florida, Lenox Square in Atlanta, Cumberland Mall in Atlanta, Highland Village in Houston, Summit Mall in Ohio, Pheasant Lane in New Hampshire and Sainte-Catherine in Montreal, Canada. Such closures have become routine during the pandemic, Apple said, telling Bloomberg: “We regularly monitor conditions, and we will adjust our health measures to support the well-being of customers and employees. We remain committed to a comprehensive approach for our teams that combines regular testing with daily health checks, employee and customer masking, deep cleaning and paid sick leave.” Before the latest round of closures, Apple shut and reopened eight additional locations, including stores in Texas, Maryland, Hawaii, Ohio and Ottawa, Bloomberg reported. The closures typically lasted a few days each. A ninth closed store — Lincoln Road in Miami Beach — remains closed. In August, Apple also temporarily closed a location in Charleston, South Carolina. Apple has previously said that all its employees are tested regularly and that it only reopens stores once each employee is tested again. And, earlier this month, the company delayed its return to office plans “indefinitely” for corporate employees. In store, as coronavirus infections and the omicron variant spread quickly across the globe, Apple has started to limit occupancy inside its retail locations in order to promote social distancing. It has also reinstated its mask mandate across all US stores and has once again put in plexiglass dividers to protect employees. In order to limit potential infections, Apple has incentivized customers to make purchases online. On Wednesday, the tech giant rolled out free-two hour delivery for its products in “most metro areas.” The deal runs through Dec. 24. That shipping option normally costs $9.

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