Apple is abandoning its mask mandate for corporate employees at “most locations,” according to an internal email obtained by The Verge(Opens in a new window).
Citing “current circumstances,” Apple’s COVID-19 response team announced that “wearing a face mask will no longer be required in most locations,” and urged folks to check “regularly” before visiting any company site.
“We recognize that everyone’s personal circumstances are different,” the message said. “Don’t hesitate to continue wearing a face mask if you feel more comfortable doing so. Also, please respect every individual’s decision to wear a mask or not.”
The move comes amid a surge in the highly transmissible BA.5(Opens in a new window) subvariant omicron; New York Times counted 2,576 new cases in California’s Santa Clara County—home to Apple HQ—as of the week ending July 29(Opens in a new window).
Apple announced earlier this year that retail and corporate staff would be required to get the COVID vaccination or provide negative rapid antigen tests before entering the workplace.
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In April, as new cases began to rise, the firm reinstated mask wearing(Opens in a new window) in corporate common spaces and for retail employees in some 100 US stores. It also paused plans for a hybrid return-to-office, opting instead to allow folks participating in a two-day-per-week, in-office pilot to once again work fully remote.
Apple is not alone in winding down COVID-19 restrictions: Uber and Lyft recently dropped their mask requirement for riders and drivers after a federal judge in Florida voided a mandate from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requiring face coverings on public transportation, ruling that it exceeded the CDC’s authority.
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