An Apple Store in Southlake, Texas is closed from Wednesday through Sunday after 22 retail employees tested positive for COVID-19. The store with 151 employees, reported four positive cases immediately after the Black Friday sale on November 26, 2021.
NBC reports that a store manager informed staff of the situation during a Webex meeting. The manager also said that infected employees will return to work after 10 days of isolation and 48 hours of being symptom-free. A before the reopening of the store on December 13, all staff members will have to take a rapid antigen test.
As Apple is preparing to welcome corporate employees back to offices in February and it has placed a strict testing policy for corporate and retail staff, especially for unvaccinated employees. Reportedly, the unvaccinated employees will be tested every day or every time they enter an office space, and unvaccinated retail employees will be tested twice per week. However, employees at the Southlake Apple store said that COVID-19 positive cases increased because the store manager ignored SOPs and called sick employees to work.
Employees accuse manager of ignoring COVID-19 SOP at Southlake Apple Store
As per the report, a huge discrepancy lies in Apple’s policy on paper and its implementation on the ground. An employee at the Southlake Apple Store, who requested to stay anonymous, said that the manager asked him/her to work on Black Friday despite showing COVID symptoms.
“It was really bad, my voice was really scratchy and my customers definitely noticed,” they said. “It was worse because it was Black Friday and the store was busier than normal, and my customers were not wearing masks.”
Another employee at the store claimed that COVID-19 SOPs were not followed even before the Black Friday sale.
Jeff Miller, who has worked at the Apple store in Southlake for three years, said the store has been getting busier throughout the pandemic. “There were several occasions prior to Black Friday where I expressed concern about the inability to maintain even a semblance of social distancing,” he explained. “Then all hell broke loose on Black Friday.”
In response, an Apple spokesperson said that the company “prioritized” the health and well-being of customers and employees during the pandemic and continues to do so.