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Apple is closing all of its stores outside of China until March 27

Jonathan Shieber

Apple will be closing all of its stores outside of China until March 27th.

In a statement on the company's website attributed to Tim Cook, the company attributed the decision to lessons it had learned from its response to the outbreak in China, where the disease was first identified.

"What we've learned together has helped us all develop the best practices that are assisting enormously in our global response," Cook wrote. "One of those lessons is that the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus's transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance. As rates of new infections continue to grow in other places, we're taking additional steps to protect our team members and customers."

The company committed to paying all of its hourly workers as if the stores were remaining open. It said it would also expand its leave policies to accommodate personal or family health circumstances caused by COVID-19 -- including recovering from illness, caring for someone infected, mandatory quarantining or childcare challenges due to school closures.

The company reached $15 million in donations to COVID-19 response efforts and said it will be matching employee donations two-to-one to support response efforts, locally, nationally, and internationally.

"The global spread of COVID-19 is affecting every one of us," Cook wrote. "At Apple, we are people first and we do what we do with the belief that technology can change lives and hope that it can be a valuable tool in moments like this."