On Wednesday, Apple reopened several of its retail stores in the Bay Area. They’re among 100 Apple stores across the country that are opening this week with limited access and service.

Many shoppers are not allowed to walk in and enter the store just yet. Those who can go inside must follow strict safety precautions.

For the first time in two months, since the coronavirus forced stores to close, Apple’s flagship store in Palo Alto re-opened Wednesday with customers lining up at the door.

“I hadn’t planned on coming here at all,” said Smita Kolhatkar of Palo Alto. “It just happened that my phone died this afternoon.”

A sign at the door said Apple is now open for storefront pickup and tech support at the Genius Bar by appointment only.

All visitors get a temperature check and everyone must wear a face mask. If you don’t have a mask, Apple will provide one. Once inside the store, shoppers must maintain social distancing which is not too difficult since the number of people allowed in is limited.

“I think that’s fine,” said Kolhatkar. “That’s the way the world is right now.”

“I think the process is pretty good and I feel safe,” said Shuo Yang of Palo Alto.

“They got the sanitizing wipes,” said Carlos Harvey of San Jose. “Everybody has masks on. They had water out. You can’t really ask for more.”

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Re-opening Apple’s retail stores has been gradual following local health orders. Nearly half of Apple’s 500 stores around the world have reopened. In the Bay Area, a map from a blog that focuses on Apple, shows more than a dozen stores from Santa Rosa to Los Gatos are back in business.

“I will say Apple was responsible about closing their stores relatively early in the epidemic both in China, United States and other markets,” said Larry Magid, CEO of Connectsafely.org.

Magid said like many companies, Apple’s sales have dipped since not too many people are rushing to spend on electronics. As a tech leader, other companies may look to Apple for direction.

“I do think other companies look to Apple for guidance so I suspect Apple opening up, if it goes well will be followed by other companies,” said Magid.

In an open letter to customers, Apple wrote, the decision to reopen was not rushed and “a store opening in no way means that we won’t take the preventative step of closing it again should local conditions warrant.”

Four Apple stores in the Bay Area remain closed. All of them are inside major shopping malls.



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