Last Monday Apple's VP of Retail updated staff that more Stores would begin to reopen in May as previously forecasted. Although the Apple Store in Seoul Korea opened late last month, it was limited to service and picking up devices for repair. The store may slowly get back to normal, whatever that means under new COVID-19 restrictions. Apple's first European Store opens tomorrow in Vienna as presented in graphic below showing new hours.
Today Austria's publication Heute revealed that Vienna's Kärntner Straße will open tomorrow. Apple stated that "We look forward to welcoming visitors to Apple Kärntnerstraße again on Tuesday, May 5. We have missed our customers and look forward to offering our support.
Since many Austrians work and learn from home and the conditions develop further, we will initially focus on providing service and support to our customers, which we offer with great enthusiasm.
Apple added that "We will initially reopen with additional security measures, including social distancing and adjusted opening hours to ensure customers and employees remain healthy. Customers should also know that there may be a delay in entering the store for our running customers. Therefore, making purchases might make it easier to shop in the Apple Online Store with delivery or pickup from the Store." For more read the full Heute report.
Apple's store in Seoul opened late last month and may now be preparing to work towards full sales beyond just service and repair pickups.
With Apple Stores generally being one of the busiest retail establishments in the world with a real sense of community, it's very difficult to imagine what experience we're to expect going forward as stores begin to slowly reopen in the U.S. and Canada.
With high security and strict COVID restrictions in play such as having your temperature taken before given permission to enter the store, having to wear a mask while in the store at all times, long delays with orders, limited customer flow (30-70 customers at any given time depending on store size), it's likely to be a completely new experience to be sure. What will complicate matters for some is that most Apple Stores are within large malls which adds more risk with COVID-19.