Apple on Saturday took the unprecedented step of shutting down the majority of its stores worldwide through March 27 to help contain the new coronavirus.
The move comes as the coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to march across the globe, with official counts putting the number of those with confirmed infections at over 150,000.
The only Apple Stores that will remain open are those in the Greater China region, which have only recently fully reopened for business, after being shuttered, while that country dealt with the initial explosion of coronavirus cases that originated there.
With Apple’s (AAPL) stores closed, consumers will likely find themselves looking for alternatives for everything from servicing their products to purchasing replacements. Thankfully, there are plenty of options available to users across the U.S.
Apple currently has a network of more than 1,800 certified third-party service partners spread throughout the U.S. From small specialty shops in Wyoming to big box retailers, you’ll likely be able to get your device taken care of in an emergency without issue.
For most Americans, Best Buy (BBY) will be the go-to option for the next two weeks. In June 2019, Apple and the electronics retailer announced a partnership that ensures users can get same-day repairs for certain issues at every Best Buy location in the U.S.
More intricate repairs, however, will require that Best Buy send your device out for service, which could take several days. Apple follows similar guidelines at its own locations.
As for purchasing new Apple products, the company already sells its devices at retail partners ranging from Best Buy and Target (TGT) to Costco (COST) and Walmart (WMT). If you’re nervous about leaving the house and heading out into large crowds, you can always buy items through Apple’s online store, Amazon, or most major retailers’ websites.
Closing its stores is certain to hit Apple’s bottom line, though investors and analysts had already been anticipating a blow from store closures in China. Cutting off access to its stores for 2 weeks will do even more damage to the company’s revenue in the March quarter and potentially beyond.
But closing stores, and observing social distancing guidelines, could help reduce the spread of the virus, or at least the intensity of outbreaks. That would not only take pressure off hospitals and medical resources, but ensure that the general public is able to get back to life as usual sooner. And that will undoubtedly benefit both consumers and the iPhone maker in the long run.
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