Hours after Apple moved its annual developers conference online, the company now says it will close all of its stores outside of Greater China on coronavirus worries.
Apple Stores around the globe will close until March 27, the company said. It also encouraged employees to work from home and said it has committed $15 million to help with recovery efforts. It will also match donations made directly by employees.
“In our workplaces and communities, we must do all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted late Friday.
The coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. The virus, known as 2019-nCoV, was reported to the World Health Organization on Dec. 31 and has been under investigation since. Chinese scientists have linked the disease to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses, which include the deadly SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome. The WHO has labeled the coronavirus a pandemic.
The disease has now spread to the US and caused President Donald J. Trump on Friday to declare a state of emergencies. Schools have closed, Broadway has gone done and various other events and sporting events have been canceled or delayed.
Earlier Friday, Apple said it would. The event, one of its biggest of the year, is where the company introduces its newest software features for its iPhones, Macs and various other devices. Apple hasn’t yet said when the online conference will be held.
“The current health situation has required that we create a new WWDC 2020 format that delivers a full program with an online keynote and sessions, offering a great learning experience for our entire developer community, all around the world,” Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in a statement. Apple counts 23 million registered developers in more than 155 countries.
Apple is just the latest in a string of companies shifting or canceling events as the coronavirus has spread around the world. Other companies like the internet giants Facebook and Google have also canceled their respective developer events, which were planned for the spring. Large organizations too have scuttled their plans, including the annual SXSW music and tech festival in Texas, the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Even Disneyland shut down.