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Apple just closed all Apple Stores outside of China

Apple Store
(Image credit: Andreas Solaro / Getty Images)

Apple is closing all Apple Store locations outside of Greater China in response to the global COVID-19 epidemic, according to a statement published by Apple CEO Tim Cook on Friday.

Apple Stores in the U.S. and beyond will be closed until March 27. Cook noted that customers can continue to shop on Apple's website, and that the Apple support page will continue to be operational for service and troubleshooting.

Apple's statement also mentions that hourly retail workers will continue to be paid in accordance with their typical hours, and that the company's leave policies have been extended to cover time off needed to recover from illness or care for a loved one. Like many companies around the world, Apple's office employees will be working remotely. 

"We know our users depend on Apple products all the time, and especially in times like these," said Cook in his statement. "We’re bringing the same creativity and passion to meeting this challenge that we do in everything else we undertake."

Apple is also introducing new resources and livestreams in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Apple News now has a dedicated COVID-19 section to help users stay up to date on the latest updates around the virus, and the company announced earlier this week that June's Worldwide Developer Conference will be an online-only event that showcases Apple's latest iOS, macOS and watchOS updates.

Apple's retail store closure is the latest event in a long line of precautions that companies are taking to contain the spread of COVID-19, including the cancellation of major trade shows and entire sporting seasons.