Apple Inc. is planning to relax the requisite of wearing masks for vaccinated customers at many of its stores and offices across the United States (US) from next week.
The move will mark yet another major retailer moving away from the COVID-related safety protocol as states ease curbs. Walmart Inc., Trader Joe's, Starbucks Corp., and Costco Wholesale Corp. had recently relaxed the same conditions.
The tech giant has started informing its employees of the imminent change in impacted markets. The policy change will come into effect as early as Tuesday.
Apple has told its employees not to ask customers for verification of vaccination, Bloomberg reported. However, the staff will be required to wear masks at stores.
However, the company could change its plans or defer the loosening of the restriction. As per a memo sent to its corporate employees, the requisite of face coverings will also be dropped at some of Apple's US offices.
"Given the progress being made in response to COVID-19 in the US, 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," as per the memo.
"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," it added.
Apple was one of the first corporates to shut its stores as the COVID-19 pandemic spread globally. The tech giant had said in March 2020 that it was closing hundreds of its stores and encouraged staff to work remotely.
Apple had earlier dropped mask requirements in some other regions, comprising Australia. The company had told its employees earlier this month that they are expected to resume office by September this year for at least three days a week.
The iPhone maker's employees have been working remotely for the past year to check the spread of COVID-19.
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