- Apple has scaled back Apple Watch try-ons at some of its retail stores as the coronavirus spreads, according to sources familiar with the matter.
- While Apple hasn’t eliminated try-ons, employees are being told not to offer it proactively and to only allow try-ons at the customer’s request.
- It’s one of several measures Apple has taken in recent weeks in light of the coronavirus outbreak, along with implementing deep cleanings in stores and installing hand sanitizer stations.
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Apple is scaling back Apple Watch try-ons at some of its retail stores in an effort to combat the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Apple Store employees are being instructed not to encourage customers to try on products like the Apple Watch and AirPods, and to only allow customers to do so upon request. It’s part of the broader measures Apple is taking to protect its staff and customers amidst the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, which has killed 31 people in the United States and infected more than 1,150 as of Wednesday. The company has also reduced the number of stools and chairs in stores to promote distance between people.
Other cautionary measures Apple has taken in recent weeks include boosting cleaning staff and installing hand sanitizer stations in stores. Hourly employees, including retail staff, are also allowed to take sick leave without having it count toward their usual allotment, as 9to5Mac first reported on Monday.
Apple has always promoted the Apple Watch as being its “most personal device ever,” and has allowed customers to try on the product ever since the first model launched back in 2015. Last year, Apple launched a new program for further personalizing its smartwatch called Apple Watch Studio, which lets customers pair a specific band with a casing of their choosing rather than buying a predetermined band and casing combination.
Apple isn’t eliminating the watch try-on process, the people said. Rather, it has just stopped actively promoting it in some stores for the time being. It’s also unclear if all Apple Stores have implemented this policy, or just certain locations.
An Apple spokesperson confirmed that the company was taking steps to limit crowding in its stores, but declined to comment on whether scaling back try-ons was part of that process.
The coronavirus has prompted major retailers to rethink their daily operations over the past several weeks. Walmart, for example, recently said it would waive its regular attendance policy through the end of April and provide up to two weeks of pay to workers who contract the virus. Starbucks also said it will offer “catastrophe pay” for employees should they be quarantined.
Meanwhile, tech firms around the globe implemented work from home policies, including Apple, which told employees to work from home if their position allows, as Bloomberg reported. Apple has also closed all of its retail stores in Italy, which has the highest number of coronavirus deaths outside of Asia, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
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