Shoppers wear protective masks outside an Apple Inc. store at the Americana at Brand shopping mall in Glendale, California, on Thursday, May 6, 2021.
Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Customers at Apple stores in the United States will be required to wear face masks to shop as Covid cases rise countrywide.
Previously, Apple only required masks in U.S. stores within regions that required them. Tuesday’s announcement means that Apple will require them for shoppers even in states that don’t have such mandates.
The reinstatement of the mask mandate raises questions about its possible impact on the holiday shopping season amid rising public health concerns tied to the omicron Covid variant, which appears to be more transmissible than previous variants.
“We regularly monitor conditions and we will adjust our health measures in stores to support the well-being of customers and employees,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. “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 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Stores reopened earlier this year, with staff wearing masks and designated sanitation areas for customers. The iPhone maker has adjusted individual store policies in response to regional conditions, including an emphasis on customer pickups via online purchases instead of in-store shopping and increasing the amount of space to social distance.
Nevertheless, the company has had its own Covid-related hardships. A store in Texas closed last week after several employees tested positive for Covid, NBC News reported.
California, where Apple is headquartered, has imposed a monthlong indoor mask mandate, which starts Wednesday.