Apple Set to Begin Loosening Restrictions Inside Stores
Vaccinated customers who wish to shop at the store or visit Apple's in-person help desk Genius Bar can now do so without a mask.
As the pandemic begins to wind down on account of sufficient vaccinations, many retailers and chains are easing up on restrictions across the country.
Since restrictions were originally put into place over a year ago, Apple (AAPL) quickly adapted to a new model of shopping at its storefronts where customers would have to preorder an item online, choose a designated pickup time and enter the store with a mask after checking in outside.
But it looks like the new model of shopping may soon become a thing of the past as the technology behemoth announced that it will be loosening shopping safety restrictions starting this week.
Related: Is Apple Setting up for a Big Move?
Customers who wish to shop at the store or visit Apple’s in-person help desk Genius Bar can now do so without a mask if they have been fully vaccinated.
Reports say that customers will not need to show proof of vaccination in an honor-system type of model, though employees will still have to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.
The news comes on behalf of an internal memo to Apple employees obtained by Bloomberg, which said the company would begin moving into the next stage of “resumption” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"In Phase 3, where allowed, Apple protocols are being updated to permit optional masking for vaccinated individuals,” the company said. “Physical distancing requirements are also being relaxed in this phase."
A number of other big name retailers have joined Apple in the loosening of mask restrictions in recent weeks, including Starbucks, Target and even big-name grocers like Trader Joe’s.
Apple is up over 44% year over year, a huge win in a year when so many retailers suffered at the hands of lockdowns and loss of normal day-to-day activity.
Remote learning and working also helped sales of laptops and computers.
“Despite COVID-19 headwinds, Apple grew revenue in every segment and geography, beating consensus revenue by 14% as ecosystem engagement rises,” Morgan Stanley analysts said of the company in July of last year.
Apple was valued just under $130 a share as of Monday afternoon.
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