Apple to close retail stores worldwide, except Greater China, until March 27

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a face mask walks past an Apple store in an upmarket shopping district in Beijing as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, China, March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

(Reuters) – Apple Inc said late on Friday it will close all its retail stores, except those in Greater China, for the next two weeks to minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission.

“We will be closing all of our retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a letter apple.co/2w768jZ posted on the company’s website.

“In all of our offices, we are moving to flexible work arrangements worldwide outside of Greater China,” he added. “That means team members should work remotely if their job allows.”

Apple reopened all 42 of its branded stores in China on Friday.

The company’s donations to the global coronavirus response, to help treat those who are sick and to help lessen the economic and community impacts, reached $15 million on Friday, Cook wrote in the letter.

More than 138,000 people have been infected worldwide and over 5,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally of government announcements.

Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael Perry and Raju Gopalakrishnan

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