Apple Re-closes Some Stores, Raising Economic Concerns

Apple Re-closes Some Stores, Raising Economic Concerns
The Apple logo is displayed at the Apple store in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Mary Altaffer/AP Photo)

Apple’s Friday decision to close stores in four states with surging CCP virus cases highlights a question that other businesses may soon face: Stay open or prepare for more shutdowns?

Apple, like many other major U.S. retailers, shut down all of its U.S. locations in March. On Friday, it said it would shut 11 stores, six in Arizona, two in Florida, two in North Carolina and one in South Carolina, that it had reopened just a few weeks ago.

Many other businesses, including manufacturing, travel, dining, and entertainment, have been steadily reopening where they can while taking health precautions. But some have recently pulled back or paused their plans. The Cruise Lines International Association, for instance, announced Friday that ships will not be sailing from U.S. ports until at least Sept. 15, extending a pause put in place because of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.

The auto industry, meanwhile, has seen its efforts to restart production hampered in part by infected workers.

States such as Utah and Oregon are pausing the reopening of their economies amid a spike in cases, while others like Texas and Arizona have not changed their plans. Arizona this week did mandate that businesses implement social distancing, and Phoenix made masks mandatory in public.

The Cupertino, California, company has continued to sell iPhones and other products online.

Still, retail has been hit hard, with declining profits and bankruptcies. Retail earnings shrank 70 percent in the first quarter, excluding Walmart, said Ken Perkins of Retail Metrics, and second-quarter earnings are expected to drop another 45 percent. Department stores Neiman Marcus and J.C.Penny and clothing chain J. Crew have all filed for bankruptcy protection. Home-goods chain Pier 1 is shutting down.

Disney, which has been planning to reopen Disneyland in California and Disney World in Orlando, Florida, in July, is not changing its plans. Universal Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and SeaWorld have already reopened in Florida.

Movie theater chains are also reopening, with Cinemark beginning the process this week in Dallas and going nationwide in July. Regal and AMC are also set to open again in July—with mask requirements for employees and customers.

The Navajo Nation’s gambling operation had hoped to reopen its casinos in Arizona and New Mexico in mid-June but they’ll stay closed until at least early July because of the outbreak. Other casinos have closed temporarily.

By Tali Arbel and Michael Liedtke

Associated Press writers Joseph Pisani and Christopher Rugaber contributed to this report.

NTD staff contributed to this report.

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