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Apple has decided to temporarily close a number of its just-reopened Apple Store locations across the United States on Sunday, as a measure to protect its retail employees from looters taking advantage of the ongoing George Floyd protests.
On Saturday night, Apple Store outlets across the United States were attacked by opportunistic looters willing to break into the retail outlets to steal Apple products. With protests taking place in over 30 US cities over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who died while being arrested, it is anticipated more attacks could be made against stores over the course of Sunday.
As a precaution, Apple is closing some of its stores while events continue, reports 9to5Mac. Apple advised on its store pages "With the health and safety of our teams in mind, we've made the decision to keep a number of our stores in the US closed on Sunday."
Accounts and social media images of the lootings show people forcing their way into stores, grabbing demonstration devices and nearby boxed stock, then leaving the store. The attacks cause considerable damage to the glass-fronted stores, with some like the Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis outlet being closed for an indefinite period for extensive repairs.
Some of the other more notable stores looted and attacked on Friday and Saturday night include Pioneer Place in Portland, Oregon; Scottsdale, Arizona; Philadelphia, and in Washington, D.C.
In preparation for protests and looting attempts, many stores have taken to packing away merchandise and boarding up windows to limit damage. Thieves who take demonstration devices will also find they are of limited use, as they are disabled and tracked when they are outside the range of the store.
The closures are a blow to Apple's attempts to reopen all of its retail outlets in the world following their temporary closure during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Apple announced on May 26 it intended to reopen 100 US stores over the course of the week, which would bring the total number of open US stores to 132, almost half of all its US-based outlets.