Apple says employee taking time off from Santa Monica store tested positive for COVID19

In the latest development of the COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak involving Apple, the company has shared that one of its employees that has been on leave from its Third Street Promenade store has contracted COVID-19.

Earlier this week, we learned that one of Apple’s corporate employees in Ireland tested positive for coronavirus. Since then we’ve also seen the company close down all stores in Italy after a country-wide lockdown was announced. And Apple announced WWDC for this year in June that will skip the in-person event for a new online experience.

Precautions for Apple Stores have so far included employees refraining from offering Apple Watch and AirPods try-ons and suspending all Today at Apple sessions.

Reported by TechCrunch, late last night Apple confirmed that an employee from its Santa Monica store has tested positive for COVID-19. “The employee had been on leave to care for a relative since March 2nd.” It’s unknown if the employee could have been contagious before taking the time off.

Apple shared a statement with TC:

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.

With President Trump declaring a national emergency today, it might just be a matter of time before Apple starts closing at least some of its stores in the US.

On a positive note, all of Apple’s stores in China that were closed are now reopened.

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