Apple Store 5th Ave in NYCSource: iMore

A few days ago, Apple made the tough decision to close down all of its retail stores outside of Greater China, with the promise to re-open them on March 28 due to concerns with the novel coronavirus and the spread of the COVID-19 disease. Well, now it looks like that isn't happening — all Apple Stores are now closed "until further notice."

It's also not just Apple Stores that are shut down. Disney decided to shut down Disneyland Paris, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, California, and all four parks of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This is in addition to the closures of Shanghai Disney, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Tokyo Disney Resort from last month. I mean, Disneyland Anaheim has closed down only a few times before (after JFK was killed, the Northridge earthquake in 1994, and on 9/11), so shutting it all down for at least the next two weeks (probably longer) is huge.

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There are also a ton of other stores that are closing temporarily, schools are transitioning to online learning, public offices are closed to the public, bars and clubs are getting told by the government to shut down, restaurants are moving towards take-out or delivery only, no entertainment venues, including sports, and so much more. These are just the ones I'm remembering off the top of my head at the moment, but there are so many more closures relating to COVID-19 and the urge for social distancing. This is no joke, and we all need to take it seriously.

The situation in the U.S. is not looking good. Each day I wake up and check my social networks, I see new news stories relating to COVID-19 — more cases than the day before, more closures, more deaths. People panic buying toilet paper, water, cleaning supplies, food, and everything else, leaving nothing for others. I'm not saying that we should all go out and hoard as many supplies as we can (this helps NO ONE because you want your neighbors to be safe too, so they don't get COVID-19 and become contagious), but we need to understand that social distancing and staying home is the best thing that we can do right now.

I'll admit it — when this thing first started, I wasn't too concerned. I wasn't going to let a virus scare me and stop me from living my life. But then the situation has been getting worse with each passing day, and it doesn't look like it's going to be stopping within the next two weeks. In fact, I feel like this is going to get worse before it starts to get better, so we need to do our part. Apple Store, Disney Parks, and other closures with those promised dates of "by the end of the month" are looking less likely, and chances are high that it'll be longer than that.

We need to take this seriously. Even if you are healthy, the coronavirus is highly contagious, and the carrier can even be asymptomatic, meaning they don't even show symptoms of being sick so they don't know that they have it until they get tested (which the country doesn't even have enough tests right now). And if you have the coronavirus and are asymptomatic, but you fail to practice social distancing, especially with those who are elderly (your parents, grandparents, relatives, etc.) or immunocompromised, you are putting them at risk, and they have less of a chance of surviving than a healthy, younger person.

And if you're worried about not getting the latest gadgets right on schedule this year, don't worry — they'll still be produced and sold eventually. You'll get your hands on them at some point. You can still order stuff online, so no store visit required. And theme parks, entertainment venues, bars, restaurants, offices, and everything else will open back up at some point. But right now, all of that seems rather trivial compared to the pandemic that is happening right now.

Everyone, let's take care of each other and practice that social distancing and staying home. It's for the betterment of everyone, not just you.