The United States is in lockdown for the foreseeable future as officials and health experts hope to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus as much as possible. Landline and wireless service providers have pledged to keep service on for all customers over the next 2 months as employment becomes a tenuous proposition for many in this period of isolation. But for those who drop off their payments at a store or for anyone with an immediate need to purchase a phone at this time, you should know that Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon either have or are going to temporarily close a number of their stores.
Effective today, Sprint has opted to close 71% of its retail locations including all locations inside malls, the Sprint Express sections of Walgreens pharmacies, and all stores in Puerto Rico as mandated by the territory's governor. The 1,000 locations that will remain open will include service and repair locations. Stores that remain open — you can find them with the store locator — will have modified operating hours: Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and; Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Customers are encouraged to utilize Sprint's website, telesales, and the My Sprint app as possible. If a customer is buying a phone, the company will waive upgrade and activation fees, offer free expedited shipping, and will also suspend reservations for in-store pickups.
T-Mobile announced it will be only opening "a critical mass of 20% of stores" from today until at least March 31. Most stores should be within a 30-minute drive of customers' homes and will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time. Employees will not be required to work at these stores unless they want to. Customers can use the store locator here.
As previously covered, Verizon is closing a number of stores for the time being and is emphasizing online services. A corporate blog post from COO Hans Vestberg did not give specifics.
AT&T's closure plans involve 40% of its retail locations with more possible along the way. Those that remain open will operate from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time Monday to Saturday only. The company also warns of limited call center capacity due to staff accommodations and social distancing guidelines.
T-Mobile updated hours
T-Mobile further reduced operating hours for its open locations on April 1, going down to 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Sprint stores are presumed to be keeping their similar hours.