Some Apple retail stores drop face mask mandates

By

Why Apple Watch’s iPhone unlock will change your freakin’ life
Wave goodbye to masks at some Apple Stores.
Photo: Ivan Samkov/Pexels CC

Starting Friday, many people will be able to visit a U.S. Apple Store without wearing a mask. It’s not a universal change — an Apple company memo that leaked out indicates that removing the mask requirement depends on “vaccinations, testing, and case counts” in the area of each retail store.

Reportedly, about a third of stores will see the change. But that’s only the start.

No mask needed at many Apple Stores

The internal Apple memo went out Thursday to some retail locations and was subsequently leaked to Bloomberg. It says:

“After careful review, the Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) team, along with leadership, have determined it’s safe to update our guidance on masks for customers in your store. The positive trends in vaccinations, testing, and case counts for your area have made this change possible.”

The mask mandate is allegedly being removed for 100 of Apple’s 270 stores. In states as varied as California and Louisiana. The change in policy will be “gradually expanding to additional stores in the coming days,” according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.

Covid-19 cases are down… a bit

This isn’t the first time Apple started dropping the mask mandate. It happened back in June, too. But then the Delta Variant caused a surge in COVID-19 cases in late summer.

But the rate of new infections has dropped again. Still, they’ve leveled off at about 72,000 new cases a day, a rate much higher than in June, when the usual average was under 15,000. Apparently, that’s low enough to satisfy Apple.