Customers at Apple stores in the United States will need to wear masks while shopping as Covid cases increase across the country. Previously, Apple only needed masks in US stores in areas where they were needed. According to Apple’s announcement on Tuesday, they will be needed by retailers even in states where such orders are not available. The return of the masked authority raises concerns about its potential impact on the holiday shopping season, particularly in light of the growing public health concerns about the Covid omicron Covid variant, which appears to be moving more than previous variations go.
“We are constantly monitoring the situation and we will adjust our health standards in stores to support the safety of our customers and staff,” an Apple spokesman said in a statement. “Amid issues arising in many areas, we now need all customers to join our team members wearing masks while visiting our stores.”
Apple closes all its stores in 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The stores also reopened earlier this year, with staff wearing masks and sanitary areas selected for customers. The iPhone developer has adjusted individual store policies in response to local conditions, with an emphasis on customer pickups through online purchases instead of in-store purchases and increasing the amount of space to social distance.
However, the company has had problems related to its own Covid. A store in Texas closed last week after several employees tested positive for Covid, NBC News reported. California, where Apple is headquartered, has ordered a month-long indoor mask, which began on Thursday.
Apple is reported to be planning to start completing screen requests for customers at some US retail stores early Friday (via Bloomberg). The company told staff about a change in the internal record on Thursday, Bloomberg reported, saying the decision was based on a reduction in coronavirus cases and an increase in vaccination rates.
The new note states that the updated screen policy will apply to retail customers in more than 100 of Apple’s 270 US stores and will be the same for both immunized and non-vaccinated customers. Mask requirements for Apple retailers will remain in place, however, and will continue for consumers in areas where local governments also need in-house masks. The company added that it will “continue to monitor Covid area and data” throughout the upcoming holiday season and adjust as support conditions, according to Bloomberg. Apple did not respond to a request for comment from Verge on Thursday.