The memo states that the COVID-19 response team at the company says its updates are based upon local information such as test positives and hospitalization rates. Employees are asked to return to wearing masks in public areas such as hallways, meeting rooms, and elevators. According to the Bloomberg report, retail workers in approximately 100 US stores will be asked to remove their masks on Tuesday.
Based on current conditions, we have two updates to share:
First, we are temporarily asking team members to wear masks in common spaces, meeting rooms, hallways, and elevators—in general, all areas outside of your personal workspace.
Second, we are extending the phase-in period of the pilot and maintaining two days a week in the office for the time being. For those of you participating in the pilot, if you are uncomfortable coming into the office during this time, you have the option to work remotely. Please discuss your plans with your manager.
These changes are for your location and we’ll make changes to other locations as required. We’re continuing to monitor local data closely and are committed to providing at least two weeks notice of any changes.
Although the letter did not directly address the requests of the Apple Together group, they wrote a protest letter opposing the hybrid plan. However, the additional flexibility to return to the office (however temporarily) was in line with their request. The new hybrid model was announced by CEO Tim Cook almost a year ago. However, repeated spikes of COVID-19 infections delayed its launch until this year. Although Apple did not specifically look into the trends and data that led to this change, the results are so worrying that Apple is sticking with additional flexibility and masking.