Southlake Apple Store temporarily closes due to COVID-19 outbreak

A typically busy Apple Store in Southlake is closed for the rest of the week because of a COVID-19 outbreak among employees. 

Apple wouldn't say how many employees got COVID but said they're all required to wear masks in the store.

The company spokesperson shared that the store will remain closed through Sunday, reopening on Monday. Employees will be tested before returning.

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According to NBC News, 22 of the store’s 150 employees tested positive, but Apple would not confirm that number to FOX 4.

The Tarrant County Public Health Department says it’s looking into the situation.

Annie Mueller and Emma Bumgardner say the Apple Store is a popular and typically crowded destination in the Southlake Town Square. 

"This is the one that I always come to. You can never get in," they said. "You have to have an appointment like weeks in advance."

An Apple spokesperson told FOX 4 via phone employees are supposed to wear masks and that they’re provided with in-home COVID tests.

Apple’s website says it’s limiting occupancy, reducing the number of products on display and offering masks to customers who don’t bring their own.

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"It’s still kind of a dangerous situation to be in," said Dr. Shane Fernando, a clinical epidemiologist with UNT Health Science Center.

He says clusters of shoppers can easily turn a day or weekend into a super spreader event. Breakthrough cases are also a continued concern.

"I believe that managers should really be responsible for their staff to make sure that those who work for them are protected just as much as shoppers are made to feel welcome," Dr. Fernando said.

And in light of many workers still struggling financially who may not be able to take time off, Dr. Fernando says wearing a mask and keeping your distance is a simple gesture to show them support.

"I feel like we love each other," he said. "And we have a great amount of pride in our state. So why can’t we do that for one another? Especially in the spirit of the holidays."

Last month, Apple announced that it was dropping the mask mandate at the majority of its retail stores for customers. Employees, however, are still required to wear face coverings. 

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