Foxconn is lifting most of its COVID-19 restrictions at its primary iPhone factory in China, allowing employees to move around again freely.
In particular, it will end its "point-to-point" system that restricted employees from traveling between their dormitories and the factory campus, according to Bloomberg. Foxconn has also reopened on-site cafeterias and will no longer provide free meals.
It will deduct meal expenses from employee wages, but will provide 15 yuan per day for regular workers from December 16 to December 31. Foxconn will continue to offer free meals to Covid patients who choose to stay at company-appointed accommodations.
However, the company's troubles may still be ongoing. "Foxconn will now need to address the potential increase in sickened staff and a possible shortage of workers," said Will Wong, senior research manager at IDC. "More initiatives will need to be taken to appease staff, other than financial compensation."
An outbreak of COVID hit Foxconn at its Zhengzhou facility in late October, and it implemented a "closed loop" system to keep employees on campus. As a result, some workers fled the campus to escape the lockdown, while hundreds of others rioted over poor conditions there.
Chinese authorities lifted the lockdown at Foxconn by the end of November, which had affected Apple since the supplier was reportedly operating at between 20% and 30% of capacity.
Supply for iPhones has improved somewhat for the in-demand iPhone 14 Pro models, but not enough for customers to receive one by the end of the year. Analysts at UBS believe production slowdowns will continue to affect the company in 2023, predicting that Apple will ship seven million fewer iPhones next year.