Apple holds off on three-day return-to-office plans as Covid cases surge

Tech giant reintroduces mask-wearing in some offices and about 100 stores in US

Tech giant Apple has delayed a plan requiring workers to come back to the office at least three days a week, citing a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, marking the latest setback in its efforts to return to normal.

The company informed employees on Tuesday that it was delaying the requirement, which had been slated to go into effect on May 23rd, according to a memo seen by Bloomberg. However, the company said it was still expecting workers to come to the office two days a week. The company said the requirement was being delayed for “the time being” and did not provide a new date.

Apple was set to require employees to work from the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning next week – a policy that had been controversial among some staff. Already, employees have been coming in two days a week as part of a ramp-up effort that began in April. For now, that mandate isn’t changing.

Common areas

The company also told staff that they must again wear masks in common areas – at least in Silicon Valley offices. Separately, retail employees were informed on Tuesday that about 100 US stores would again require mask-wearing by staff members. Apple had dropped that requirement in March when cases eased.

A spokesman for the tech giant declined to comment.

While the delay is related to Covid-19’s recent rebound, some Apple employees have complained about the return-to-work plan, saying that it limits productivity. They’ve said that commute time takes away hours that could be put toward their work. Employees have also complained that the office return ignored the lack of a vaccine for young children. – Bloomberg