Just days after Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the company’s Australian retail stores would open within 1 to 2 weeks, they’re about to open their doors – with a difference.

Store hours are shorter, and there will be checks before entry and restrictions on the number of people inside, but – the 21 Aussie Apple Stores (with the exception of Sydney City which is undergoing renovations) will re-open this Thursday morning at 10am after more than seven weeks being closed.

A spokesperson for Apple Australia said “We’re excited to begin welcoming visitors back to our Australia stores later this week. We’ve missed our customers and look forward to offering our support.”

“With many Australians working and learning from home, our initial focus will be providing service and support at the Genius Bar. To start, we will open with additional safety procedures including temperature checks, social distancing and an adjusted schedule, to ensure customers and employees continue to stay healthy. Our social distance protocol means a limited number of visitors in the store at one time so there may be a delay for walk-in customers. We recommend, where possible, customers buy online for delivery or in-store pick up.”

“As always, our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19 and those working around the clock to treat, study and contain its spread.”

EFTM understands stores will require a temperature check before entry as well as adhering to strict social distancing guidelines to keep employees and customer safe.

The focus will be on Genius Bar appointments, with the recommendation most certainly being to book online to avoid having to wait. Walk-up customers may need to wait or queue, and while an Apple queue is normally a sign of a great new product, it’s just about social distancing and health in 2020.

The bottom line is, if you don’t need to go, don’t go – but, for those of us with hardware issues that only Apple can fix – it’s a welcome message after over seven weeks of closed doors.