If you live outside China you won’t be able to walk into an Apple Store for the next couple of weeks – they’re all being shut down until March 27 to help prevent the further spread of the coronavirus around the world.
You’ll still be able to shop and get support for your Apple products through the Apple website, but in terms of physical retail stores, everything is being paused for the time being.
“The most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance,” explained Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement.
“As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we’re taking additional steps to protect our team members and customers. We will be closing all of our retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27.”
“There is no mistaking the challenge of this moment,” added Cook, admitting that it’s not clear when the “greatest risk” will have passed and everything can start getting back to normal. Apple Store staff will still be paid in the meantime.
“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.”
The coronavirus outbreak has already caused chaos with tech events worldwide, with Apple, Google and Microsoft all switching their major developer conferences to an online-only format.
And the health crisis looks likely to delay numerous product launches too – the iPhone 9 and 2020 iPad Pros are some of the devices that are rumored to have already had their launch dates pushed back.