Apple has closed a string of stores to in-store shopping for customers in New York City amid an increase in COVID-19 cases.
The company has closed major stores across New York, with Upper West Side, Upper East Side, West 14th Street, Staten Island, and Bronx locations to shoppers, as well as those in Huntington Station and Manhasset.
Apple’s Fifth Avenue, SoHo, Grand Central, and World Trade Center locations, are also closed to customers, as per the company’s website.
Customers will still be able to pick up online orders at the stores, Apple said.
When customers click on any of the closed stores, an announcement states, “Please note we are offering online order pick up and limited walk-in services for shopping and Genius Bar support at this location. Face Masks required. If you need one, just ask.”
“We regularly monitor conditions, and we will adjust our health measures to support the well-being of customers and employees,” an Apple spokesperson told the New York Post on Monday. “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.”
The company did not say when its New York locations would reopen to shoppers.
Apple’s company policy is to close a store when roughly 10 percent of staff members test positive for the virus.
The Epoch Times has contacted Apple for comment.
This isn’t the first time that Apple, which is headquartered in Cupertino, California, has temporarily closed stores to customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Dec. 23, the multinational technology company announced that it has temporarily closed at least eight retail stores in the United States and Canada since Dec. 22, amid a surge in cases of the Omicron variant of the virus, according to an article from Bloomberg.
Apple closed stores in The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach, Dadeland in Miami, 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.
Prior to that, at least eight further stores had recently shuttered before reopening in Texas, Maryland, Hawaii, Ohio, and Ottawa. The company also Apple temporarily closed a location in Charleston, South Carolina back in August.
The latest temporary closures come as Omicron and the other variants of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus continue to spread rapidly throughout the United States, impacting businesses whose employees are calling in sick.
Amid the worker shortages, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday cut the amount of time some fully vaccinated workers in critical fields who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate from 10 days to five days.
On Monday, New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio reported a near-record of 17,333 new coronavirus cases, while the number of people being admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19 has “gone up intensely” he said.
“So, definitely some pressure on our hospitals, definitely a challenge, but much different than what we experienced in the past in terms of the impact it’s having on people,” Blasio said in a press conference while noting that hospitals in the city are still “holding it together.”
New York currently mandates COVID-19 vaccine proof for workers and customers in indoor venues including restaurants, gyms, and theaters.
On Monday, a statewide vaccination mandate for private businesses, part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Key to NYC program, went into effect. Under the mandate, only individuals with at least two doses of an mRNA vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson are defined as “fully vaccinated.”
All employers will have to keep full records of their workers’ vaccination status and those who do not comply face fines starting from $1,000.