Apple is reclosing 14 of its 18 stores in Florida due to a surge of coronavirus cases in the state.
Florida reported more than 5,000 new coronavirus cases for the second day in a row Thursday after adding a record 5,508 new cases Wednesday. Florida health officials also reported 201 new hospitalizations and 46 new deaths Thursday.
Despite the surge, Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will continue reopening the state’s economy.
“The Governor has affirmed that he does not have plans to roll back re-opening Florida,” a spokesman for DeSantis told FOX Business. “Our state will continue forward with re-opening in a safe, smart, step-by-step approach.”
The status of Apple stores is a good indicator of how well an area is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic since their locations are usually in important shopping centers. It is similar to the “Waffle House Index” for natural disasters, an informal metric used by FEMA to judge how bad a storm will be based on whether Waffle Houses in the area are closed.
Apple also re-closed seven stores in the Houston area Wednesday after a similar surge of coronavirus cases there.
“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 obtained by FOX Business. “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.”
DeSantis said at a Tuesday press conference that the state is seeing a “real explosion” in cases among younger people.
“When we started this in March, the median age of people who tested positive was – I think – 65,” he said. “As the testing ramped up, that went into the 50s. But it was pretty much in the 50s for most of the time and then just recently has really plunged.”
The four Florida stores that Apple is keeping open are in Tampa, Sarasota, Orlando and Jacksonville, which are all in central or northern parts of the state. 16,864 of Florida’s 114,018 confirmed cases are in the central part of the state, according to Orlando news station WESH.
Apple has so far re-closed more than two dozen stores after temporarily reopening them in May.