December 8, 2023

Apple abandons mask mandate for corporate employees in ‘most locations’, internal email says acquired by The Verge(Opens in a new window).

Citing “current conditions,” Apple’s COVID-19 response team announced that “the use of face masks will no longer be required in most locations” and urged people to check “regularly” before visiting any of the company’s websites.

“We recognize that everyone’s personal circumstances are different,” the message said. “Feel free to continue wearing a face mask if you feel more comfortable doing so. Also, respect each person’s decision to wear a mask or not.”

The move comes in the midst of a boom high transmissibility BA.5(Opens in a new window) Omicron subvariant; The New York Times counted 2,576 new cases in California’s Santa Clara County—home to Apple’s headquarters—from the week ending July 29(Opens in a new window).

Apple announced earlier this year that retail and corporate staff will 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 company reinstated mask use(Opens in a new window) in corporate common areas and for retail employees in approximately 100 US stores. It also scrapped plans for a hybrid return to the office, opting instead to allow people participating in a two-day-a-week, in-office pilot to work remotely again.

Apple isn’t alone in lifting COVID-19 restrictions: Uber and Lyft recently dropped their mask requirement for riders and drivers after a federal judge in Florida struck down an order from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that required face covering on public transport. that it exceeded the powers of the CDC.

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