Apple has temporarily closed all of its stores in the United Kingdom, as England and most of Scotland enter new lockdowns to curb a steep rise in coronavirus cases thought to be caused by a new strain.
Announced on Monday by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the new lockdowns close all schools and non-essential shops, and mean people must stay indoors other than for limited exceptions, such as essential medical needs, food shopping, exercise, and work that cannot be done at home.
In England, the strict rules are to be enforced until at least mid-February, while in Scotland they apply on the mainland until the end of January, and will be kept under review. Northern Ireland went into lockdown on December 26, while Wales has been in a nationwide lockdown since December 20, so Apple stores there were already closed before the holidays, as noted by 9to5Mac‘s Michael Steeber.
With local tiered restrictions in force since early November, many of Apple’s retail locations had already been operating on a click-and-collect basis only with Express Pickup. However, the new lockdown rules are the harshest the U.K. has seen since the spring, and all non-essential stores must once again close. The new rules come after the U.K. reported a record 58,784 cases on Monday, as well as a further 407 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
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