Microsoft late Monday night took to Twitter to announce that it has decided to close all Microsoft Store locations across the globe due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The change takes into effect immediately, and the company says that all of its stores will remain closed until further notice.
Microsoft is urging customers who might be impacted by the change to visit online support at Microsoft.com. The company's full statement can be seen below, but it obviously looks as though there is no current timeframe for when you can expect retail stores to reopen.
"All Microsoft store locations are currently closed until further notice due to COVID-19 health concerns. We know families, remote workers, and businesses are under unique pressure at this time, and we are still here to serve you online at microsoft.com"
Microsoft's move comes two days after Apple opted to close all of its retail stores around the world (with the exception of China) until March 27th. This move from the Redmond giant should not be surprising at all. It comes just a few days after Microsoft originally initiated "social distancing" policies in its retail stores. At the time, that included offering stations at the front of the store to assist customers with technology and support needs, such as repair services.
Many multiplies, cities, and states across the United States and the world are now banning mass-gatherings and small gatherings alike to help curb the spread of the virus. As a result, Microsoft's new move to close stores now keeps everyone once working in its retail stores, and also potential customers safe from infection.
Microsoft also announced just last week that it was canceling its annual Build 2020 developers conference in favor of a "digital-only" event instead. The Microsoft search engine, Bing, even launched a Coronavirus resource hub with maps and more to help keep the public informed about the virus.