Apple bans AirPods and Apple Watch Try-Ons in Retail Apple Stores due to Coronavirus
Apple has informed its retail stores to stop offering Apple Watch or AirPods try-ons for the foreseeable future due to Coronavirus. However, there is not an outright ban on try-ons. If a customer specifically requests to try-on AirPods or an Apple Watch, employees can oblige. The key here is that employees are being told not to offer try-ons.
Apple Stores have long offered Apple Watch try-ons, allowing users to try out the different case sizes and band designs. Customers can also try on AirPods Pro to experience the in-ear fit and different sizing options. Limited try-ons are part of Apple's broader efforts to fight the Coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 1,000 people in the United States.
The move will have the biggest impact on the Apple Watch Studio, a table in Apple retail stores that lets customers pair any band with any Apple Watch to find the best combination for themselves. With the new policy in place, it will render that section of the store unused except for those customers who request a try-on.
Apple retail stores remain open around the world during the Coronavirus outbreak, but with new measures that will help reduce the spread of the virus. The company has ordered extra cleanings of display products throughout the day, introduced hand sanitizing stations, and has reduced the number of chairs at the Genius Bar and cubes in the Forum area to add additional space between customers. The company also introduced 'social distancing' protocols in which employees are asked to stay three feet away from customers and each other.
Moreover, Apple has closed all of its retail stores in Italy for the indefinite future. Additionally, 'Today at Apple' sessions have been canceled indefinitely in Seattle, San Jose, and San Francisco. Reduced store hours or even store closures could be on the horizon in areas of the U.S. impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak.
This is part of Apple's work to protect Apple Store employees and customers during the Coronavirus outbreak. Apple is also giving retail and hourly workers unlimited sick leave for Coronavirus-like symptoms with no doctor's note required. Apple also placed a travel ban on China, Italy and South Korea, requiring employees to get permission from a vice president for business-critical trips.
The Coronavirus situation is evolving at a rapid pace, and it is always possible Apple ends up closing more retail stores or dramatically reducing hours.
Wednesday night, President Trump announced the U.S. government was suspending travel from Europe to the U.S. for 30 days to slow the spread of the virus. It was later reported by the Department of Homeland Security that the ban "does not apply to American citizens, legal permanent residents, or their families".