What you need to know
- England is bracing itself for a second lockdown, to be announced Saturday by Boris Johnson.
- Early indications suggest measures will include the closure of non-essential retail.
- It will force Apple to close all of its England stores until December 2, starting on Thursday.
Update, October 31 (3:07 pm ET): England has announced that it will go into lockdown on November 5
Multiple reports suggest that England is bracing itself for a second lockdown to combat COVID-19, which will likely force Apple stores in the country to close.
A source has confirmed to iMore that the UK is expected to enter a four-week 'Tier 4' lockdown which will force pubs, restaurants, bars, and retail stores to close.
The government is due to hold a press conference at 5 pm UK time, after the news of a possible second lockdown was leaked. Also reported by ITV's Robert Peston:
These are the measures to be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at his 5 pm press conference, as I understand it. They will last until December 2.
And they are, in effect, a new "Tier 4" that will be imposed for a month initially to the whole of England - in a bid to curb a rise in coronavirus cases.
All pubs and restaurants are to close, though takeaways and deliveries will be permitted.
All non-essential retail will close, though supermarkets won't have to follow the Welsh example of fencing off non-essential goods.
This likely ensures that Apple will be forced to close its England retail operation (32 total stores) from Thursday, November 5, until December 2. The announcement is yet to be confirmed officially by the government, but reports are that MPs will be asked to vote on the measures next week before they are enacted. The BBC carries a similar report confirming non-essential retail shops will have to close.
The restrictions will not apply to the rest of the UK. Stores in Northern Ireland and Wales are already closed, and Scotland will enter a new tier system on November 2, although it is not expected that any stores in the country will have to close under currently proposed restrictions.
Update, October 31 (3:07 pm ET) — England has announced that it will go into lockdown on November 5
In a press conference on Halloween, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England will go into a lockdown beginning on Thursday, November 5 that will last four week. Nonessential businesses will close, confirming that Apple Stores will likely be completely closed to the public during that time.
While Apple has not responded to the news yet, we anticipate this to include stores operating under their Express storefront format. It will also impact those who planned to pick up their new HomePod mini, iPhone 12 mini, and iPhone 12 Pro Max in store on launch day. Thankfully none of the devices were available to preorder before the announcement, so customers will most likely only have the option to order to home delivery and not have to figure out how to change up their order after it had already been placed.