Bloomberg reports that Apple will drop the mask mandate for customers at more than 100 retail stores in the United States. Starting this Friday, customers in states like California, New York, and Connecticut will not be required to wear a mask inside the retail outlets. The relaxation in health measures is accredited to an increase in COVID-19 vaccinations and a decline in positive cases.
As Apple is gradually devising a plan to call employees back to corporate offices, it was reported that it has told unvaccinated employees that they will be tested every day or every time they enter an office. This rule will apply to employees who do not wish to report their vaccination status. On the other hand, vaccinated staff will be required to take rapid tests once a week.
For retail employees, the company plans to test unvaccinated staff twice per week and vaccinated staff once per week. However, Apple is planning on implementing a unified policy for vaccinated and unvaccinated customers.
Customers visiting Apple stores will not be required to wear a mask, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status
In the internal memo, obtained by Bloomberg, staff members were notified that after careful considerations, Apple has decided to lift the mask mandate for vaccinated and unvaccinated customers visiting its stores.
“After careful review, the Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) team, along with leadership, have determined it’s safe to update our guidance on masks for customers in your store. The positive trends in vaccinations, testing, and case counts for your area have made this change possible.” The new policy will apply to customers regardless of vaccination status.
However, the mask requirement will continue for retail employees and for customers in states with mask mandates. The company also added that the policy regarding masks is subjected to the health situation.
“Team members have longer interactions in store and are in close proximity throughout the day. The mandate will also continue in regions, such as Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, where local governments still require masks indoors.
The health and safety of our teams and customers remains our highest priority. We will continue to monitor local guidance and Covid data in your area throughout the holiday season, and make adjustments as needed.”