Apple Closes 3 Stores, Extends Return-to-Office Deadline, Offers $1,000 Bonus

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Apple temporarily shuttered three stores in the US and Canada following COVID-19 outbreaks among staff.

Locations in Miami (Brickell City Centre), Annapolis, Md. (Annapolis Mall), and Canadian capital Ottawa (Rideau Centre) will remain closed through the week, Engadget reported.

“We regularly monitor conditions and we will adjust our health measures to support the well-being of customers and employees,” Apple said in a statement to Bloomberg. That includes daily health checks, deep cleaning, and paid sick leave. Employees are also tasked with enforcing the company’s mask mandate and limiting the number of customers allowed inside at one time.

Last summer, Apple temporarily closed a total 77 stores across the country due to the spreading virus. Since reopening all locations earlier this year, a shop in Southlake, Texas, was forced to close its doors on Dec. 8 following an outbreak of coronavirus cases, CNBC said. As many as 22 employees tested positive after Black Friday.

The retail giant now requires workers, regardless of vaccination status, to test for COVID multiple times per week, and asks those who feel sick to stay home, according to Bloomberg.

But while most Apple store staff continue to don their blue-shirt uniforms, Apple corporate employees are still wearing pajama bottoms to meetings. According to a separate report by Bloomberg, the company once again delayed its hybrid work pilot from the most recent Feb. 1, 2022 deadline to a “date yet to be determined,” CEO Tim Cook wrote in an internal memo.

Citing “rising cases in many parts of the world and the emergence of a new strain of the virus,” Cook encouraged workers to get their vaccinations and booster shots, adding that “this is by far the best way to keep you and your community safe.”

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Every Apple employee—including retail workers—will receive a $1,000 bonus for work-from-home needs. The additional funds are “intended to help you with your home workspace and can be used as you see fit,” Cook said, promising “more information about this shortly.”

Once Apple employees eventually return to the office, staffers are expected to come to campus on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, with the…

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