Mask mandates haven’t completely gone away out in the world, but their presence is certainly waning. Even as the coronavirus pandemic continues. So, it’s not too surprising to hear that Apple is moving forward and dropping the mask mandate it has in place. At least, for “most” of its corporate locations.
That’s according to a recent report by The Verge, which states that, moving forward, most corporate employees at Apple will no longer be required to wear a mask while visiting the physical site. The report is based on an internal memo the outlet was able to obtain, which shows that Apple’s COVID-19 Response Team has informed corporate employees that “in light of current circumstances,” the mask mandate will be lifted at most locations.
Here’s the internal email sent out by the Response Team:
We are writing to share an update to our current protocols. In light of current circumstances, wearing a face mask will no longer be required in most locations. As always, please check Welcome Forward regularly for specific requirements for your site, including those from local health authorities, or any site you may visit.
We recognize that everyone’s personal circumstances are different. 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.
Thank you for all that you do to support Apple’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
The COVID-19 Response Team
As noted in the email, the Response Team does say that if some employees still feel comfortable wearing a mask, then they should not stop simply because the general mandate is being lifted.
As noted above, the global pandemic is still ongoing. As it stands right now, the highly transmissible BA.5 variant is causing surges in known cases all across the United States. The impact of this new variant is being felt in some parts more than others of the country, and some businesses, like the San Francisco Bay Area transit system, BART, reinstated its mask mandate policy.
It has been a bit of a rollercoaster for Apple and mask mandates over the last year or so. Back in March of this year, for instance, the company lifted the mask mandate not only for retail employees, but also corporate personnel as well. In that instance, there were some rules defined for corporate employees, like still needing to wear masks in public spaces, but not at desks. But then in May the mask mandate returned for around 100 retail stores in the United States.
It looks like we’re seeing Apple move away from the mask mandate as of right now, but that could change as the reality of the situation continues to evolve.