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Apple to Close Houston Stores Again on Covid-19 Spike

Mark Gurman

(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. said it’s closing seven stores in Houston because of a recent spike in Covid-19 cases, bringing the number of locations that have been shut after reopening to 18.

The iPhone maker said Wednesday it was taking the action out of an “abundance of caution.” The company last week closed 11 stores across Florida, Arizona, North Carolina and South Carolina that had been reopened earlier. Despite the renewed closures, Apple has reopened the majority of its 271 U.S. stores.

“Due to current Covid-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas,” Apple said in a statement to Bloomberg. “We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible.”

Texas Covid-19 cases increased by a single-day record of almost 5,500 on Tuesday, bringing the number of infections in the state to more than 120,000. Demand for intensive-care unit beds in Houston-area hospitals jumped 10% in one day as the number of ICU cases surged to 1,298, the Texas Medical Center said Wednesday on its website.

The Houston stores being closed are the Highland Village, First Colony Mall, Houston Galleria, Memorial City, Willowbrook Mall, Baybrook and The Woodlands locations, Apple said.

The Apple stores globally that remain open continue to require temperature checks and masks for customers and employees. Apple originally shut all of its stores outside of China in March to help curb the spread of Covid-19. When it started reopening its stores in April, the company said it wouldn’t hesitate to close locations again if necessary.

Apple didn’t say when the closed Houston locations would open again, but noted that customers would have time to pick up devices under repair at the stores.

(Updates with comments from company in the third paragraph.)

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