Apple to dial back mask mandates in many U.S. stores

Well, that was fast. After reinstating a mask mandate for its employees and in-store customers in July of this year, the company has decided that, in some states, that rule no longer has to be in place. According to a new report, beginning this week, Apple will start to dial back mask mandates for in-store visits.

That’s according to Bloomberg, which is reporting today that Apple’s mask mandate will be dialed back beginning this week. Specifically, beginning Friday, November 5, 2021, many stores in the United States will no longer require masks be worn by customers who visit the physical storefront. The mindset is that with the vaccination options in place, and with cases falling in some states, the rule no longer has to be mandated moving forward.

There are around 270 physical retail stores in the United States, and the report indicates that “more than 100” of them will drop the mask mandate beginning this Friday. In “the coming days” that removal of the mask mandate will expand to even more stores across the U.S.

The report indicates that, out of the gate, these states will drop the mask mandate in its physical stores:

  • Arizona
  • Connecticut
  • California
  • Florida
  • Louisiana
  • New York
  • New Jersey

Per today’s report, which is based on an internal memo sent out to Apple employees this week:

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.

It’s worth noting that the report indicates that “some” stores in the aforementioned states will drop the mask mandate. So it’s possible even if you live in one of those states, the physical store you visit this weekend might still be mandating mask wearing while inside. For instance, in Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area, local governments still require masks indoors. So these stores will not be following this new rule.

What’s more, the new mask policy is in place for all customers — no matter what their vaccination status is.

The memo also states that the mask mandate will remain in place for employees, saying, “Team members have longer interactions in store and are in close proximity throughout the day.”

Apple will continue to monitor local guidance and safety procedures moving forward. So while this change is happening now, it’s possible that the company will change gears in the future if it deems it necessary to do so.