The COVID-19 pandemic prompted businesses to take action to protect workers, whether it was implementing work-from-home schemes, mandating vaccinations against the virus, or simply requiring employees to wear face masks.
Tech giant Apple is now making changes to its policy that required workers in its offices to wear face masks.
In a statement obtained by The Verge, Apple stated: “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.
The company added: “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.”
The tech giant did emphasize that employees were still welcome to wear masks: “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.”
The removal of mandates
Apple is not the first company to ease its health regulations “in light of current circumstances”. In fact, companies like Amazon, Walmart, and JPMorgan Chase eased measures back in February as COVID-19 cases began to decline in the US.
While Apple may be slightly behind other large enterprises, the company has had plenty to contend with during the pandemic.
Notably, the tech giant has struggled to strike a balance with its hybrid working model. Although the company intended to bring employees back as part of a three-day-per-week pilot in May, it later left the option open for remote work.
Bloomberg reported in July: “Apple is readjusting operations as COVID-19 cases continue to spike in the US and some other parts of the world.
“The technology giant is pushing retail staff to work remotely as the virus forces the company to shut some of its stores again, according to a video message sent to employees.”
This uncertainty is unsurprising as Apple CEO Tim Cook stated that the company was “running the mother of all experiments” and unsure what its final hybrid policy would look like.
While the plans for the office appear to still be in limbo, at least Apple now has a policy on masks for when workers do return to the office.
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