As COVID-19 cases continue to surge and set new records in the United States, Apple is again adjusting its protocols and requirements for employees. As reported by The Verge, Apple is now requiring employees to provide proof they received their COVID-19 booster shot, or else take frequent COVID-19 tests. Apple, however, continues to stop short of a full vaccine mandate.

Apple announced the changes in an internal email sent this week. The company says that once an employee is eligible to receive their booster, they will have four weeks to do so. If they don’t get the booster within that four-week window, they will “need to take frequent tests to enter a retail store, partner store, or Apple office” starting on February 15.

Furthermore, Apple says that employees who are unvaccinated (or those who have not provided proof of vaccination) will be required to “provide negative COVID-19 rapid antigen tests before entering the workplace beginning on January 24th.” The Verge notes, however, that’s it’s “unclear whether this applies to both corporate and retail employees.”

In the memo, Apple cited the “waning efficacy of the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines,” as well as the continued spread of the Omicron variant, as the reasons for this change:

“Due to waning efficacy of the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines and the emergence of highly transmissible variants such as Omicron, a booster shot is now part of staying up to date with your COVID-19 vaccination to protect against severe disease,” Apple states in the memo.

As always, it’s important to remember that many Apple employees are still working remotely. Apple has repeatedly delayed its planned return to office, most recently saying that it has not determined a new date.

Apple continues to stop short of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for its employees. Instead, the company gives employees the option of frequent testing in place of getting vaccinated or providing proof of vaccination. It’s unclear whether this will be an option even when the company officially sets a new return to office date.

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Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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