As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to remain low, Apple plans to adjust the testing protocol to twice a week for vaccinated and unvaccinated U.S. retail employees. And it is also considering dropping the face mask requirement for employees.
Earlier, the company required vaccinated retail employees to test once a week for COVID-19 and unvaccinated employees has to test twice a week for COVID-19. Even then, the tech giant had to close down several retail stores in the United States due to the COVID-19 outbreak amongst employees after the 2021 Black Friday sale. Some affected employees held the store managers responsible for ignoring SOPs and forcing symptomatic staff to come to work.
As per Apple’s new COVID-19 guidelines, retail staff will not be required to provide test results
In a memo, obtained by Bloomberg, Apple announced the change in testing protocol for all employees and said that they can now verify their test result independently, instead of providing proof.
“Based on what we’ve learned from our testing pilot, everyone will now be required to self-test twice per week, regardless of vaccination status,” the company said in the memo. “In addition, if you were submitting your test results for verification, you’re no longer required to do so.”
The company also mentioned that it is planning to remove the face mask requirement for retail staff, however, team members were asked to wear a mask until told otherwise. The company has already removed the face mask requirement for customers in most of its retail stores across the U.S.
Apple also said that it is reconsidering the mask requirement for employees and that an update will be shared soon. “At this point, team members should continue to wear a face mask in store,” according to the memo. The company is “currently reviewing our face mask guidance for team members.”
The company said it is “hopeful that case numbers remain low and these protocols will be in effect for the foreseeable future.”
Currently, there is no information on the company’s plan for corporate employees’ return-to-the-office policy.