Just under a year ago - 13 March 2020 - Apple closed all of its stores outside of China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of 1 March 2021, for the first time in 353 days, they are finally all open again.

The pandemic is far from over, but this decision, reported by 9to5Mac, sends a signal of hope. This feels like the beginning of the end.

Many things are different from the spring of 2020. The 270 Apple stores can only be opened under strict hygiene rules. Wearing a face mask is compulsory, and the number of visitors is limited.

Some individual Apple stores reopened in the US in May last year, but many were open only for visit by appointment, for example to bring a device for repair or to pick up a repaired or newly ordered product. But the entire cohort of 270 US stores have not been open at the same time since the initial closure.

The popular Today At Apple events cannot yet take place; Apple is now offering the seminars virtually. For example, there is an online training course where Apple trainers explain the Mac, iPhone and iPad in detail.

This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by David Price.