Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple has made using masks mandatory for its corporate employees and retail staff. Although this ruling has been taken back multiple times since then, there are still some locations where Apple employees are required to wear masks. Now the tech giant is dropping the mask mandate “in most places” for corporate employees.
Apple also mentioned in the email that “everyone’s personal circumstances are different” and reminded corporate employees to respect every individual’s decision to wear a mask or not. Apple has been toying with its operating policies during the COVID-19 pandemic to toe the line with local regulations and mitigate risk for employees and consumers in areas where COVID cases are on the rise.
For instance, Apple, in March, put a pause on its mask requirements for its retail workers in the United States due to a fall in Covid-19 cases and a relaxation of local mandates. The latest move, however, comes in the wake of a fresh surge in infections in California that were first identified in the Bay Area, owing to the highly-contagious Omicron BA.5 subvariant.
Apple is still holding a hybrid home/office work policy for corporate employees in the United States. Staff started returning to their offices on April 11 for one day a week, putting an end to the two-year work-from-home policy that Apple implemented during the pandemic.
Apple initially planned to have staff in the office for three days of the week by May 23, but the company rolled back the decision after a spike in infections, and a two-day requirement was enforced on May 4.