An Apple Store employee from the Third St. Promenade store located in Santa Monica, California tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, reports TechCrunch. The employee had been on leave to care for a relative since March 2, 10 days before being diagnosed.
Apple says that it consulted health experts and did an overnight deep cleaning of the Third St. store, which is still open.
“Apple’s first priority — now and always — is the health and safety of our employees, customers and the communities we serve. An employee at our Third St. Promenade store in Santa Monica informed us they had tested positive for COVID-19 late yesterday. The employee has not been to the store since taking leave on March 2 to care for a relative.
In consultation with health experts, we’ve taken a number of steps to protect our teams and customers. All our stores around the world have increased deep cleaning protocols and we have actively reduced customer density in all stores worldwide by cancelling Today at Apple sessions and creating extra space for Genius Bar appointments. As a precaution, we also undertook an additional extensive deep clean overnight before reopening the Third St. Promenade store.
We recognize this is a challenging and ever changing time for our global community and our thoughts are with those around the world personally affected by COVID-19 and the heroic medical professionals and researchers fighting it.”
Apple previously initiated extended cleaning protocols and reduced density at the store through the cancelation of Today at Apple sessions and spaced out Genius appointments, measures implemented at all retail stores across the country.
Apple Stores in the United States have so far remained open, though with the above mentioned measures in place. In popular stores, Apple is also limiting the number of customers who are allowed in the store at one time.
At the height of the coronavirus outbreak in China, Apple shuttered all of its retail stores, though those stores have now reopened. Stores in Italy are closed right now, and Apple is likely closely monitoring the coronavirus situation in the U.S. to determine whether store closures are an appropriate next step.
TechCrunch asked Apple if it is considering closing retail locations in the United States, but Apple declined to comment.