As COVID-19 cases once again decline in the U.S., local governments are loosening mask requirements. In response, Apple has dropped mask requirements for many corporate employees and some retail workers. The Cupertino-based tech giant has already rescinded its mask mandate for customers at many locations.
Many Corporate Employees Told Masks Are Now Optional
Apple recently told some vaccinated corporate employees they’re no longer required to wear face coverings (via Bloomberg). The policy change begins with regions that have already lifted local indoor-mask mandates.
Unvaccinated corporate employees must continue to wear masks, and Apple recommends them for all employees. This is the second time Cupertino has lifted mask requirements for its employees. In June 2021, the company stopped requiring masks for employees at many locations. When a new wave of COVID-19 cases struck, Apple reinstated its mask mandates.
This time, the policy change might also hint at Apple nearing an announcement of back-to-the-office requirements for corporate employees. The company has tried implementing such a plan for several months, but has so far scrapped them. Meanwhile, other tech companies like Google are bringing their employees back into the office in April.
Mask Mandates End in Some Retail Stores
Beginning Friday, Apple will no longer require employees at a small number of retail stores to wear masks. The company says that as more regions lift mask requirements and new COVID-19 cases decline, masks will become optional for employees at more retail stores.
Cupertino also reinstated its in-person “Today at Apple” classes at retail stores in the U.S. Beginning March 7, Apple Stores across the country will begin holding the popular classes in person again for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.
In anticipation of the policy changes, Apple also revised its COVID-19 testing policies for retail workers. Whereas vaccinated employees were only tested once per week, the company will double that to twice a week (via Bloomberg). The tests remain self-administered, but employees no longer need to submit them for verification. Apple already required twice-weekly COVID-19 testing for its unvaccinated staff.