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Apple will require masks in many U.S. stores regardless of vaccination status

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Key Points
  • Apple will require both customers as well as staff members to wear masks in many of its U.S. retail stores starting on Thursday, regardless of vaccination status.
  • The move comes after the CDC recommended indoor masking for both fully vaccinated people and kids in places with high Covid-19 transmission rates.

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Shoppers wear protective masks outside an Apple Inc. store at the Americana at Brand shopping mall in Glendale, California, on Thursday, May 6, 2021.
Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Apple will require both vaccinated and unvaccinated customers as well as staff members to wear masks in many of its U.S. retail stores starting on Thursday, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC's Josh Lipton.

The move comes after the CDC recommended indoor masking for both fully vaccinated people and kids in places with high Covid-19 transmission rates.

On Wednesday, the state of California, where Apple is headquartered, recommended that all people wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status as the delta variant of the virus upends previous assumptions about risk.

Apple gained a reputation during the Covid-19 pandemic for making evidence-based decisions about where and when it was safe to operate its retail stores, sometimes making decisions ahead of public health orders.

After a year of closings and reopenings, every one of the 270 U.S. Apple stores had reopened by March 1.

Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook told CNBC that the company had pushed back its return to office plans for corporate workers from September to October and that it could be pushed back again.

"We are monitoring things daily to really conclude whether that is the right answer or not," Cook said.

Apple continues to perform at a high level despite many of its employees working remotely. Sales rose 36% on an annual basis in the quarter ended in June, the company said earlier this week.

On Wednesday, Google announced that it's also postponing its return-to-work plans until October and that all employees on campus need to be vaccinated.

Apple is not requiring its retail employees to be vaccinated, but is encouraging them to do so, the person familiar with the matter confirmed.