Apple is ditching its COVID-19 mask mandate for in-person shoppers beginning this week, allowing vaccinated customers to enter many of its U.S. stores without a facial covering, according to Bloomberg.
Workers must continue to wear masks regardless of their vaccination status, but will not ask customers for proof that they’ve been inoculated, according to the report, which cited people with knowledge of the matter. Apple is also dropping its mask requirement for its office-based employees in certain regions, according to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg.
“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,” the memo read, according to Bloomberg. “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 did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CBS MoneyWatch.
Companies across diverse industries are revising their mask policies as the COVID-19 pandemic ebbs and as more Americans are vaccinated. Although efforts to ease coronavirus practices may offer a semblance of normalcy, they can also heighten tensions between employers and workers.
Many companies are expected to take a middle-of-the-road approach, asking workers who are returning to the office to certify they’re vaccinated if they opt to go maskless. This stance lies somewhere between relying on a pure honor system and asking workers for physical proof of vaccination, like a copy of their Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination record card.
For example,has also said that fully vaccinated employees in states that have dropped mask requirements may go maskless on company premises. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated employees must continue to wear masks except while at their desks. The investment bank is also requiring employees to register their vaccination status via a company app by indicating the dates they were vaccinated and the vaccine maker.
A number of large U.S. retailers, including Walmart and Trader Joe’s, in May saidin stores in states without mask mandates after the CDC said it no longer recommended masks for fully vaccinated individuals.