Apple will once again drop the mask mandates at its retail stores starting this week, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Apple is first planning to make the change at “more than 100” of its stores in the United States on Friday, the report says.
Bloomberg reports that the new mask policy was announced in an internal memo to retail employees today. Apple is making the change based on declining COVID-19 case numbers and increased vaccinations.
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.
In the memo, Apple explained that the new policy applies to shoppers regardless of their vaccination status.
“After careful review, the Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) team, along with leadership, have determined it’s safe to update our guidance on masks for customers in your store,” according to the memo. “The positive trends in vaccinations, testing, and case counts for your area have made this change possible.” The new policy will apply to customers regardless of vaccination status.
“The health and safety of our teams and customers remains our highest priority,” Apple also told staff. “We will continue to monitor local guidance and Covid data in your area throughout the holiday season, and make adjustments as needed.”
Apple employees will still be required to wear masks, with the company explaining that “team members have longer interactions in store and are in close proximity throughout the day.” Customers will also still be required to wear masks in areas where it is required by local governments.
This is the second time that Apple has dropped its mask mandate for shoppers at retail stores. Last time, the company ultimately reimplemented the requirement as COVID-19 cases increased.
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