Apple to re-close more stores in seven U.S. states, bringing total to 77

FILE PHOTO: Customers distance before entering an Apple Store during phase one of reopening after the COVID-19 lockdown in New York City, New York, U.S. June 17, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Apple Inc AAPL.O said it would re-close more than two dozen stores in seven states starting Thursday, including its home state of California, bringing total closures to 77 as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

The stores will close in Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada and Oklahoma, it said on Wednesday, when additional stores had already closed in Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Utah.

Apple has taken a city-by-city approach to opening and closing stores, evaluating data for each community. In cities where stores remain open, Apple requires face coverings for employees and customers while also performing temperature checks and frequent cleaning, the company said.

Apple’s approach has meant that some stores remain open while others are closed in the same state.

In California, many Los Angeles area stores will close Thursday as the region’s coronavirus cases rise, while a flagship store in San Francisco’s Union Square shopping district remains open. In Texas, stores in the Austin area had remained open until this week despite closings in Houston last week.

Apple closed all of its stores outside mainland China in March, and not all U.S. stores re-opened after the initial closures. Apple has said its retail employees will continue to be paid through the closures.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Chris Reese, Tom Brown and Richard Chang