Apple Stores across the U.S. are closing again as the coronavirus pandemic surges in several states. The company announced that this week, 77 out of its 271 retail locations are closing again, according to a report by Fox Business. The closures are taking place across Alabama, California, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Utah.
"Due to current COVID-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas," Apple said in a public statement on Wednesday. "We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation, and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible." Many of the states listed above have attempted to reopen public spaces and businesses in recent weeks, and have since seen a surge in new coronavirus cases. Some are even mandating closures at the state level.
Despite the dire announcement, Apple shares were reportedly flat in trading on Wednesday. Apple Stores were already operating on a modified basis, following the guidelines of public health officials wherever they are located. Apple has closed stores all over the world throughout the coronavirus pandemic but has reopened them wherever possible as well.
Apple Stores in the U.S. began reopening in May wherever local orders allowed. They have followed strict safety measures, however, with face masks and social distancing mandatory and a limited occupancy for customers and employees.
Some of the first states to reopen have already paused their gradual plans to return to normal life, and in the case of Texas, are being forced to consider rolling back these measures. According to a report by CNBC, Gov. Greg Abbott has suspended elective surgeries in parts of Texas for fear of a shortage of hospital beds and has extended that suspension already. He has warned that crossing certain statistical thresholds in the rate of new cases would force him to roll back the state's reopening.
"We need to understand that COVID-19 has taken a very swift and very dangerous turn in Texas over just the past few weeks," Gov. Greg Abbot said on Sunday.
On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke before the Senate, saying that about half of all new coronavirus cases are coming from just four states: Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. "I'm very concerned, and I'm not satisfied with what's going on because we're going in the wrong direction if you look at the curves of the new cases, so we really have got to do something about that, and we need to do it quickly," he said.