Apple has shuttered all 16 of its stores in New York due to a staffing shortage as Omicron variant tears through the state and triggers companies to implement their own de facto lockdowns.
The Big Apple remains the epicenter for the third wave of the virus in the U.S. brought on by the highly-contagious Omicron variation.
The tech giant closed down shops in SoHo, the Upper West Side, Chelsea as well as Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx. Long Island shops in Huntington Station and Manhasset were also affected. The stores will still allow customers to order online and allow customers to pick their orders up.
‘We regularly monitor conditions, and we will adjust our health measures to support the well-being of customers and employees,’ according to a statement by Apple on Monday. ‘We remain committed to a comprehensive approach for our teams that combines regular testing with daily health checks, employee and customer masking, deep cleaning and paid sick leave.’
In addition to New York, Apple closed its stores in Los Angeles Tower Theatre, Carnegie Library in Washington, D.C. and outlets in Ohio, Texas, Georgia and Florida. The company’s Regent Street store in London also shuttered temporarily. In all, 20 locations have been closed.
Covid cases in the U.S. have doubled over the past two weeks. On average, 235,269 Americans are testing positive for the virus every day, a 99 percent increase over the last two weeks. The doubling comes after a record 512,553 new cases were reported in the U.S. on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The large figure is the product of a multi-day build up of unreported cases over the Christmas holiday that finally were logged to start the week.
In New York state, 26,737 people tested positive for the virus on Sunday – though Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Monday she expects the number to rise up to 20,000 or more by the time Tuesday’s data comes in, as more people will get tested following the Christmas holiday.
The situation is more grim in New York City, which is seeing a 10.7 percent positivity rate with a 17,334 total cases reported over the past week. As a result, many restaurants and bars have shuttered on their own after staff outbreaks or exposure, and as customers cancel bookings for fear of the virus.
Multiple Broadway shows have closed their doors, and Mayor-elect Eric Adams cancelled his inauguration gala scheduled for New Year’s Day. Because the shutdowns are voluntary, the path to safely reopening is murky, and it is unclear when business will resume as normal.