Apple offers coronavirus warning ahead of shareholder meeting
Apple has issued a warning to shareholders attending Wednesday's annual shareholder meeting about the coronavirus, asking people who recently visited China to make sure they self-quarantined for two weeks beforehand, to minimize further spread of the virus.
Announced on January 3, the annual shareholders meeting at Apple Park's Steve JobsTheater will be an opportunity for stockholders to vote on a variety of different measures affecting the company. However, due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Apple is urging potentially infected shareholders not to take part and risk further endangerment of health.
In a message sent to shareholders, shared by Sean Montgomery and spotted by 9to5Mac, Apple informs its visitors that it is "following official guidance on COVID-19 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and working in close consultation with public health experts."
More directly, Apple writes "We ask shareholders who have traveled to China in February to ensure they have completed the required 14-day quarantine period prior to the meeting in order to attend."
The coronavirus has prompted the temporary closure of business and transportation in many affected areas, especially in China, which is the epicenter of the outbreak. Apple's manufacturing partners, such as Foxconn, have taken measures to keep employees safe and to minimize infection at a cost to production, while Apple's own retail outlets are slowly reopening after closing as a precaution.
Any shareholders not attending the meeting in person are able to participate in votes online, via proxyvote.com.
The shareholder meeting will cover a total of six proposals, including the election of directors, ratifying Ernst and Young as the independent registered public accounting firm and approval of executive compensation. Three shareholder proposals involving proxy access, sustainability and executive compensation, and policies of freedom of expression are also up for a vote.
The meeting will also be of interest to investors concerned about Apple's warning on February 17 that it will miss its quarterly guidance due to the coronavirus. Unlike the revenue guidance incident of 2019, the correction for 2020 has caused considerably less panic, though Apple did not offer alternative figures for its forecast this time around.