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Apple Store looks set to retain mask mandate for now

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may have caused some confusion with its relaxation of mask rules last week, but for its part, Apple is reportedly keeping things simple when it comes to its retail stores.

According to a Bloomberg report at the weekend, the tech giant has decided to retains its mask mandate at its 270 stores across the U.S., along with other measures designed to protect staff and customers from COVID-19 infections.

Apple added that it will continue to monitor the spread of the disease and alter store safety procedures when it considers it appropriate to do so.

The company had reportedly contacted Apple Store staff about its decision to keep the mask mandate after the CDC said last week that those who have received both COVID-19 jabs no longer need to wear a mask in most public settings. However, there has been confusion among some people as the CDC’s comments go against some mask measures stipulated by local authorities. States, municipalities, and businesses can in fact decide for themselves whether they want to follow the CDC’s guidelines, with Apple, for one, intent on keeping its mask mandate in place for now.

As the coronavirus began to spread globally in the first half of 2020, Apple took the decision to close its stores around the world as part of measures to protect staff and help reduce the infection rate. In the U.S., the company started opening up last summer, though occasionally closed stores again according to local conditions regarding the pandemic. It also introduced a raft of measures designed to protect staff and customers from the virus. These measures are still in place.

They include a reservation system requiring customers to book an appointment before entering the store. As mentioned, a face covering is also necessary. Anybody who shows up without a mask will be handed one by staff on the door.

Temperature checks are also carried out, as well as a short interview to check for possible COVID symptoms and to ensure customers haven’t knowingly been in recent contact with someone who has the disease.

The company is also performing enhanced deep cleans of its stores, including regular sanitization of surfaces, display products, and highly trafficked areas.

As more and more people receive the vaccination, a growing number of stores are expected to drop their mask mandates. Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and Costco, for example, said on Friday that those who are fully vaccinated shoppers no longer need to wear a face covering when visiting their stores.

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Trevor Mogg
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