Apple is reinstating its mask mandate at all US retail stores due to rising COVID-19 cases, according to Bloomberg’s Terminal. Once again, the company will begin limiting store occupancy at several locations.
As posted by Bloomberg‘s journalist Mark Gurman, Apple decided to reinstate the mask mandate a few days after the new Omicron variant started to raise concerns over a new rise of COVID-19 cases in the US. The report says:
The technology giant said it’s requiring masks for shoppers — a rule that had been dropped at about half of its U.S. stores — to “support the wellbeing of customers and employees.”
“Amid rising cases in many communities, we now require that all customers join our team members in wearing masks while visiting our stores,” the company said in a statement Tuesday.
This news also comes days after Apple had to shut down an Apple Store in Texas due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
Since November, the company hasn’t required that customers and staff wear a mask in over 100 stores in the United States. Back then, Bloomberg reported that the mask policy was announced in an internal memo to retail employees, and it was based on declining COVID-19 case numbers and increased vaccination numbers.
The change will take place beginning at more than 100 of the company’s about 270 stores across the U.S. before gradually expanding to additional stores in the coming days. The mandate will be removed at some stores in states including California, Florida, Arizona, New York, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
Before that, during the Summer, Apple had reinstated the mask requirement at most of its retail stores in the United States. At that time, Apple said it was following the latest CDC recommendations “and analyzing the health and safety data for your local area, we are updating our guidance on face masks for your store.”
As of now, Omicron accounts for 3% of US COVID-19 cases. Apple says in a statement that it’s “proactively monitoring and managing store occupancy” which “will enable you to engage with customers and teammates at a distance that feels more comfortable.”
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