Vaccinated customers no longer required to wear face masks at U.S. Apple Stores

Vaccinated customers no longer required to wear face masks at U.S. Apple Stores
Starting this Tuesday, June 15th, vaccinated consumers in the U.S. will be allowed to enter the Apple Store without wearing a mask. According to Bloomberg, Apple has started alerting employees about the change in policy, and Apple says that its employees will not have to ask customers for verification that they have been vaccinated. In some states, like Florida, businesses and government agencies cannot ask consumers to show proof that they have received a vaccination.

Apple employees will not be allowed to ask for verification that a customer has received his vaccination(s).

Apple is telling employees that they still have to wear masks at its retail locations. Additionally, the company has disseminated a memo telling those working at Apple's U.S. offices that they no longer are required to wear a mask as long as they have been fully vaccinated. Apple was one of the first companies to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by closing its stores in China on March 13th 2020. It also was among the first firms allowing employees to work remotely from home.

In a memo Apple wrote, "Given the progress being made in response to Covid-19 in the U.S., we wanted to let you know that a number of sites are now moving to the next phase of resumption and will begin to operate under Phase 3 onsite protocol. In Phase 3, where allowed, Apple protocols are being updated to permit optional masking for vaccinated individuals. Physical distancing requirements are also being relaxed in this phase."

Apple has told its staff to be ready to return to the office in September. The company is also testing a new program that will allow workers to work from home two days per week and work remotely up to two weeks each year.

While Apple has already eliminated its mask policy in certain countries like Australia, the decision to allow vaccinated employees to go without a mask at company headquarters in Cupertino, California dovetails with the state's plan to reopen on Tuesday dropping restrictions for those who have been vaccinated.

Apple continued to give Apple Store employees full pay and benefits even if they were lounging around at home during the pandemic

Over a year ago, in May 2020, Apple had to shut some U.S. stores that it had previously reopened in Portland, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Charleston, Washington, D.C., Scottsdale, and San Francisco following violent protests in those cities over the death of George Floyd. Some protesters started looting and several Apple Stores were broken into. However, some of those who swiped iPhone models from Apple Stores or bought cut rate units sold by looters found that their handsets didn't work and might have been tracked by law enforcement.

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Apple promised Apple Store workers that they would continue to be paid their full salary and benefits even with the Apple Stores closed. Some were trained to handle technical support questions from home and were sent a 27-inch Mac to use. Whether they decided to work for Apple handling technical support questions from home, or just lounging around all day watching Happy Days repeats, Apple did not pressure their work force even though some of them felt fearful that if they refused to handle support calls, they would look bad in the eyes of their bosses and co workers.

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