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Apple Stores keep mask mandate in place as other retailers ease restrictions

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Though some retailers have eased COVID-19 restrictions, Apple will keep its mask mandate and related safeguards in place at U.S. Apple Store locations, according to a report on Friday.

The company informed Apple Store employees that it plans to maintain existing COVID-19 protocols, reports Bloomberg. The stance is in contrast to other retailers like Walmart, Sam's Club, Trader Joe's and Costco, which recently loosened restrictions to allow vaccinated shoppers to browse certain stores without a mask.

Currently, Apple Stores require customers and workers to wear masks and undergo temperature checks prior to entry. Other precautions include social distancing, occupancy restrictions, health screening, and mandatory cleaning of products.

In March, the tech giant began allowing customers to try on AirPods after banning the practice a year ago.

Apple continues to monitor the coronavirus situation and evaluate its health and safety procedures, the report said.

On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control issued new guidelines stating fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or stay six feet away from others, whether indoors and outdoors. Masks must still be worn at health care facilities, on airplanes, buses, trains and other public transportation, and at businesses that require such protection.