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COVID: Apple Reinstates Mask Mandate, Limits Capacity At All U.S. Stores Amid Rising Cases, Omicron Variant

CUPERTINO (CBS SF) – Apple has reportedly reinstated indoor mask requirements and capacity restrictions at all U.S. stores amid concerns about rising COVID-19 cases before the holidays and spread of the new omicron variant.

According to Bloomberg News, the Cupertino-based company is now again requiring masks for Apple Store shoppers and employees regardless of vaccination status, "to support the well-being of customers and employees." Mask requirements were reportedly dropped at about half of U.S. locations.

"Amid rising cases in many communities, we now require that all customers join our team members in wearing masks while visiting our stores," the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Along with masks, Bloomberg reported that store capacity would again be limited, as the holiday shopping season enters its final days.

"Proactively monitoring and managing store occupancy will enable you to engage with customers and teammates at a distance that feels more comfortable," a company memo said.

In recent weeks, the company had changed COVID-19 testing rules for store employees, requiring workers to take multiple rapid tests per week.

The new rules at Apple stores nationwide come a day after California announced it would reintroduce a statewide indoor mask mandate from December 15 to January 15, 2022. California Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly said Monday the state has seen a 47% increase in case rates in the two and a half weeks since Thanksgiving.

The statewide mandate will have much more of an impact outside the region. Solano and Marin counties are the only ones in the Bay Area that don't currently have an indoor mask mandate in place.

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