Apple shuts some California stores as coronavirus cases spike

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(Reuters) – Apple Inc said on Friday it was temporarily shutting some stores in California following a surge in COVID-19 cases in the state, sending the iPhone maker’s shares down 1.3% in trading after the bell.

Apple’s website showed that at least 12 stores were being shut starting Friday and Saturday, including those at Grove, Sherman Oaks and Beverly Center, just a week ahead of peak holiday season.

“We’re temporarily closing soon, but are currently open for pickup of existing online orders, previously scheduled in-store Genius Support appointments,” Apple said.

Some stores will be open for previously reserved one-on-one shopping sessions with a specialist made through Dec. 22, it added.

The company made a similar move in June, shutting about 32 stores as coronavirus cases increased following the easing of lockdowns in May.

The United States has reported 17.2 million cases of infections and 311,102 coronavirus-related deaths since the onset of the pandemic, with California being one of the hardest hit states.

Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva