On Friday, Apple announced a drastic response to the coronavirus outbreak, shutting down all of its stores outside of China and pledging $15 million to help combat the pandemic. The announcement came directly from Apple CEO Tim Cook. It followed a shocking week for the virus that included the World Health Organization officially classifying it a "pandemic," and President Trump declaring a national emergency in the U.S.
Apple posted an official statement on the company's response to COVID-19, or the coronavirus on its website on Friday. It noted that its products have already had a role in the global response to the virus, as "teachers are innovating to make remote lessons come alive" and "companies are experimenting with new ways to stay productive."
"We are all adapting and responding in our own way, and Apple wants to continue to play a role in helping individuals and communities emerge stronger," it went on. "But this global effort — to protect the most vulnerable, to study this virus, and to care for the sick — requires all of our care, and all of our participation. And I want to update you about the ways in which we are doing our part."
First and foremost, the company reported a total $15 million donation to "the clobal COVID-19 resopnse," which includes efforts "to help treat those who are sick and to help lessen the economic and community impacts of the pandemic."
Beyond that, the company announced that it has reopened all of its "stores in Great China," as "the rate of infections has dramatically declined."
However, all of the company's retail stores outside of China will now be closed until March 27. This is an effort to "protect our team members and customers" through social distancing.
The company assured customers that they could still shop online on its digital store, and could still make digital purchases on Apple's App Store. It also noted that customer service and support would still be available online and over the phone. Its office spaces would adapt to "flexible work arrangements worldwide outside of Greater China."
"There is no mistaking the challenge of this moment," Cook wrote, adding that he has "been inspired by the humanity and determination I have seen from all corners of our global community." He included a quote from President Abraham Lincoln, reading: "The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew."