Apple is starting to eliminate mask requirements for both retail and corporate US employees, according to Bloomberg. The company reportedly told corporate staff that masks are now optional for vaccinated employees in regions where indoor-mask mandates have been dropped. Retail staff at specific locations were also told that masks will be optional starting today.
The company is following the lead of the CDC and states that are quickly dropping mask mandates as COVID-19 cases plummet around the country. It plans to relax mask rules across more regions as well, depending on local laws. In addition, Apple is reinstating in-person "Today at Apple" classes at US retail stores starting on March 7th, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.
Apple has already dropped mask requirements for Store customers in a number of regions, including Kansas, North Carolina and Ohio. Most New York locations don't require customers to wear masks anymore either, so long as they've been fully vaccinated.
Apple previously dropped mask mandates last June, but that didn't last very long. It reinstated them just a short time later as the Delta variant surged, and kept them on during the spread of the Omicron variant.
If things go to plan, Apple may also set a deadline for employees returning to the office. It planned to do that in June of 2021, but delayed it once again as cases surged. It then projected a September return, but eventually admitted that employees wouldn't likely return until 2022.