All of Apple’s physical retail stores in the UK are currently closed as COVID-19 cases continue to surge. On December 20, Apple already temporarily closed all stores in California, Brazil, Mexico, and many stores in London.

Because of an increasing number of new COVID-19 cases, Apple decided to close all of the remaining stores in the UK in addition to those that were shut down before the holidays. Due to an ongoing coronavirus pandemic, 18 additional stores are now closed across the United Kingdom, with one in Belfast and several in Scotland.

Apple’s stores are closing as they are considered “non-essential” retail businesses, along with mobile phone and electronic goods shops. Apple offers shoppers to buy products online with free and contactless delivery.

The decision was made as England reimposes strict national lockdown and faces tighter restrictions. Both Scotland and England have already issued stay-at-home orders, and all colleges and schools will be closed. The surge in cases is caused by the new, more infectious strain of the virus first detected in South Africa, which makes the pandemic spread more quickly, but vaccinations can become a solution.

During a televised address on Monday evening, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England would enter another nationwide lockdown, which is the third one since the coronavirus pandemic began. The lockdown is needed to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 disease and thus prevent the health system from overwhelming. Johnson also urged all people to stay at home apart from limited exceptions and essential shopping. Moving out of lockdown may become possible by mid-February.

The country now has a total of more than 2.7 million cases and 76,305 deaths.