Apple urging retail staff to wear masks again even if they're vaccinated

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Amid a surge in more infectious Covid variants, Apple is recommending that its brick-and-mortar Apple Store staff begin wearing masks again.

As the more transmissible Delta variant continues to spread, Apple is urging that its retail staffers start wearing masks whether they are fully vaccinated or not, Bloomberg reported in a story update Tuesday. Retail workers must also comply with any regional health regulations, including mask mandates.

Apple had dropped its own internal mask mandate and eased other restrictions in May and June.

Staff at AppleInsider can confirm that Apple retail employees, vaccinated or not, have again started donning masks across the U.S.

Apple CEO Tim Cook had told staffers in June that they should expect to be returning to in-person work for a few days a week by September. The company recently walked back those plans until October at the earliest.

The company is said to be working on a new hybrid work model for retail staffers dubbed "Retail Flex." The new model would see brick-and-mortar staff work some weeks at Apple Store locations and other weeks at home conducting customer service and online sales tasks.

In the U.S., both hospitalizations and deaths are now increasing, especially among the unvaccinated. The more infectious Delta variant now accounts for 83% of new Covid cases in the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.

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