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Apple offers advice to customers hobbled by its global store closures

All Apple Stores outside China are currently closed due to the coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19. The tech giant took the decision last week, telling customers the stores will stay shut until at least March 27 as the company seeks to do its bit to help slow the spread of the virus.

Since the shutdown, it appears plenty of customers have been contacting Apple about various issues linked to the store closure. Like how to get a faulty device repaired, or how to collect one that’s already been fixed.

In response, the company this week posted an FAQ page aimed at helping those in search of answers for these kinds of issues.

For example, what if you want to return a product within the 14-day return period but it falls inside the period during which the stores are closed? Well, Apple says not to worry, as it will happily accept the item for up to 14 days after the stores reopen on March 28.

Also, if your device is at an Apple Store for repair and you’re wondering when you can get it back, Apple says on its FAQ page that if it’s ready for pick-up or is awaiting parts, a staff member will be in touch to let you know what’s happening. If your device is ready for pick-up, you’ll be able to collect it on March 15 or 16 between 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. You can also check the repair status online via its support page.

For anyone with a device suffering an issue, the company recommends starting the “repair request” process online or contacting support.

If you made a Genius Bar appointment before March 27, Apple recommends rescheduling it via Apple’s site for March 28 or after.

Anyone that placed an order for collection at their local Apple Store can pick it up from there on March 15 or 16 between 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Finally, if you placed an order online and had it shipped to the Apple Store, you can still make changes to that order if you so wish. Simply visit Apple’s order status page to view the status of your order and make the desired changes, or contact the company via chat or phone.

Apple has promised to continue paying its hourly workers as well as its salaried workers while its stores are closed, and will also provide health leave for employees affected by the virus.

“We have expanded our leave policies to accommodate personal or family health circumstances created by COVID-19 — including recovering from an illness, caring for a sick loved one, mandatory quarantining, or childcare challenges due to school closures,” the company said.

It has also told its office staff to work remotely for the time being, if their job allows, while telling those who need to be on-site to maximize interpersonal space when possible, adding that it will be introducing new health screenings and temperature checks, and launching “extensive, deep cleaning” procedures at all of its sites as part of measures to tackle COVID-19.

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