Apple announced Tuesday that it would require all customers to wear masks while shopping in any of its U.S. retail stores as concerns grow about rising COVID-19 cases and a surge of the Omicron variant.
“We regularly monitor conditions and we will adjust our health measures in stores to support the wellbeing of customers and employees,” an Apple spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Amid rising cases in many communities, we now require that all customers join our team members in wearing masks while visiting our stores.”
Apple closed all of its stores in 2020 during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to CNBC. Stores opened up in early 2021, and employees are required to masks.
Apple has changed its COVID-19 protocols by region depending on the specific COVID-19 situation. The tech giant encouraged customers to use the online pickup service rather than in-store shopping, and it increased the amount of in-store space for social distancing.
California, where Apple is headquartered, announced Monday that it would reinstate an indoor mask mandate on Dec. 15 regardless of citizens’ vaccination status. The state will also require those who attend events with more than 1,000 people to show a negative COVID-19 test result within 24 hours even if the venue does not require vaccination for entry.
Meanwhile, other large companies have also pivoted to enforce strict COVID-19 policies.
Supermarket giant Kroger announced Tuesday it would eliminate paid emergency leave for unvaccinated employees who test positive for COVID-19 and said it will require some workers to pay a monthly $50 health insurance surcharge starting on Jan. 1.
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