Verizon is looking to do its part in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by closing at least some of its stores around the country. The company's latest strategy, with reports stemming from an official announcement, centers around global calls for social distancing. That means it's going to be closing down retail locations to keep customers home.
The carrier says that closing the stores will help slow the spread of coronavirus and flatten the curve. But the move isn't just intended to keep consumers safe. The company says it will help keep its own employees safe.
Customers who need help will still be able to get help via stores that are remaining open. They'll additionally be able to gain access to support and services around the clock, seven days a week while the policy remains in place. That will be available via real-time chat, the Verizon website, or by calling in via the company's support line.
As part of that response and to help keep up with demand, the company will reportedly be having some of its retail workers helping with online or phone-based customer support from home.
Verizon follows the trend here but some locations will remain open
With a COVID-19 pandemic now officially announced by the US authorities, the overabundance of caution from Verizon in closing some stores may be reasonable. The US government has, in various states, gone so far as shut down bars, restaurants, and other gathering places. That's all in order to limit the spread of coronavirus. The carrier is also not the only company to enforce work from home policies on its own.
The move follows a larger trend across the nation which includes several major tech companies. Apple has closed down many of its retail locations, for example. But Google has also shut down many of its US operating locations and offices, asking workers to stay home. Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft have too, to a certain extent.
That all means that this is a trend that will likely continue with other companies. At least until panic has receded and the threat presented by COVID-19 is reduced.
Mobile customers won't be forced off their plan because of the COVID-19 pandemic either
The decision from Verizon to shut down stores follows another related decision the company made last week. Specifically, the service provided signed off on a nationwide promise called "The Keep Americans Connected Pledge," which was also signed by other carriers. In effect, the pledge assures consumers that they won't be losing their mobile service due to coronavirus.
More directly, Verizon promised to waive late fees and keep its customers connected regardless of any difficulties they might face over the next 60 days because of the virus's spread. That includes a decision not to shut off service for those that can't pay their bills because of coronavirus.
Similarly, AT&T has suspended broadband data caps and T-Mobile is effectively giving unlimited data to all of its customers. Sprint signed onto the pledge as well, meaning that no US mobile customer should lose their service as a result of widespread quarantines, shutdowns, or other unexpected circumstances stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.