Apple is ramping up cleaning at its stores in the US as coronavirus spreads
Ken Ishii/Stringer/Getty Images
- Apple has increased cleaning staff in stores, installed hand sanitizer stations, and has been asking employees to wipe down demo products more frequently as a cautionary measure to combat the spreading coronavirus.
- The company is also encouraging employees to stay home if they feel sick and avoid travel if possible.
- The measures come as the coronavirus continues to spread internationally and within the US.
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Apple has ramped up cleaning efforts in its United States retail stores in an effort to protect employees and customers as the coronavirus spreads, multiple Apple Store employees have told Business Insider. The company is also urging employees to replace travel with virtual meetings when possible and has reiterated that workers should stay home if they're feeling sick or experiencing any symptoms.
Over the past month or so, Apple has taken three key measures to keep stores clean: increasing the presence of cleaning staff, installing hand sanitizer stations in stores, and asking employees to wipe down demo devices and surfaces more frequently, according to three current employees working at stores in three different states.
One employee said that cleaning staff are present during most of the store's open hours, while another said that cleaners are coming in multiple times per day. That latter employee said that while cleaning staff used to primarily focus on areas like the floors and bathrooms, they're now expanding to clean areas like doors and employee lockers as well.
"Our cleaning allotment has been doubled straight out," one of the three current workers said.
Apple Store staff are also being told to sanitize devices throughout the store multiple times per day.
While its normal for managers to advise staff to occasionally wipe down surfaces during the flu season, this more formal push to do so is out of the ordinary, one person said.
Two of the employees also said that management has advised staff not to come to work if they're feeling sick or experiencing symptoms and have encouraged employees to teleconference rather than travel for meetings. Such guidelines were listed in an internal email viewed by Business Insider, which also said the company has imposed travel restrictions in China, South Korea, and Italy, which Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.
Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for confirmation.
The increased cautionary measures come as the coronavirus continues to spread in the US and around the world. The virus has killed nine people in Washington state, and 130 cases have been reported in the US. Globally, more than 3,200 people have died because of the coronavirus while 94,000 people have been infected, most of them in China.
Apple temporarily closed all of its offices, stores, and contact centers in China in early February because of the spreading coronavirus. It has since opened its corporate offices and contact centers, and most of its retail stores in China. Apple has also been sending care packages including iPads, hand sanitizer, and food to quarantined employees in China, as MacRumors first reported.
The coronavirus has prompted many large tech firms to implement travel restrictions and take extra measures to protect employees. Google, Twitter, and Coinbase, for example, have all told employees to work from home, for example, while Google has prohibited all international travel. Google also canceled its biggest event of the year, Google I/O, because of coronavirus-related concerns.
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