San Francisco (AFP) - Apple on Friday said it will begin gradually reopening its retail shops in the US next week, taking pandemic precautions such as making sure everyone in them wears masks.
The iPhone maker planned to start with some stores in Alabama, Alaska, Idaho and South Carolina.
"We've missed our customers and look forward to offering our support," Apple said in a statement to AFP.
"We'll open initially with additional safety procedures including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings to ensure customers and employees continue to stay healthy."
Apple's home state of California still has tight shelter-in-place rules but moved this week to let some business and industries get back in action provided they defend against spread of the coronavirus.
Apple said it is monitoring health data and government guidance to determine when and where it can safely reopen shops.
New protocols in Apple stores will include limiting the number of customers who can be inside, meaning probable delays for those who spontaneously stop by for technical help from a "Genius Bar."
Apple recommended people order online for delivery or in-store pickup to limit personal contact.
The move by Apple comes with several US states moving to end or ease lockdowns but with polls indicating many Americans remain cautious about resuming normal activities.