Starting next month, Apple will “infrequently” test employees who come into its offices and stores for COVID-19, if they’re vaccinated. Unvaccinated employees will have to get frequent testing. Apple CEO Tim Cook and senior vice president of retail and people Deirdre O’Brien announced the new policy during an all-hands meeting today, according to an audio recording obtained by The Verge.
The company’s updated guidelines appear to line up with the OSHA standards that will be established as a result of the Biden administration’s push to increase vaccination rates. Those standards say companies of 100 people or more must require either immunization or weekly testing.
Apple recently pushed back the date when it expects employees to return to its office in response to a surge of cases and the Delta variant. An internal email in August specified that the mandatory return is delayed until at least January 2022, and employees can expect a one-month notice ahead of time before it goes into effect.
During the meeting, Cook told employees that “we need to learn” about a hybrid workplace after years of being entirely in the office and the last 18 months or so at home. For now, Apple will give everyone in the company three extra days off next quarter. For employees in the US, those days will come the week of Thanksgiving, while teams in other countries will set their dates independently.