In a memo seen by The Verge, Apple said that it was extending the phase-in period of the pilot and would maintain two days a week in the office.
The company's response team says that its updates are based on local data like test positivity and hospitalization rates. When in common areas like meeting rooms, hallways, and elevators, the memo asks employees to wear masks. Retail employees in about 100 US stores were told on Tuesday that they will have to wear a mask again.
Based on current conditions, we have two updates to share:
First, we are temporarily asking team members to wear masks in common spaces, meeting rooms, hallways, and elevators—in general, all areas outside of your personal workspace.
Second, we are extending the phase-in period of the pilot and maintaining two days a week in the office for the time being. For those of you participating in the pilot, if you are uncomfortable coming into the office during this time, you have the option to work remotely. Please discuss your plans with your manager.
These changes are for your location and we’ll make changes to other locations as required. We’re continuing to monitor local data closely and are committed to providing at least two weeks notice of any changes.
The letter didn't directly respond to requests made by the Apple Together group that wrote a letter protesting the hybrid plan, but additional flexibility in returning to the office is in line with what they were asking. The new hybrid model was announced by Tim Cook almost a year ago, but it was delayed due to spikes in COVID-19 infections. Apple didn't specifically go into the data and trends that caused this change, but the results seem worrying enough that it's sticking with masking and additional flexibility for now.