Apple has pushed back its return date for in-person work from Feb. 1, 2022, to “a date yet to be determined.”
Cook said the tech company’s return-to-office date was postponed due to spiking COVID-19 cases in many parts of the world, alongside the rise of the omicron variant. He also recommended that Apple employees get COVID vaccines and booster shots, which he called, “by far the best way to keep you and your community safe.”
What’s more, the company is also giving Apple employees a “work from home” bonus of $1,000 intended to “help you with your home workspace” that “can be used as you see fit,” Cook wrote.
Apple has delayed bringing workers back into offices several times already this year amid the rise of more contagious variants of COVID-19, such as the delta and omicron variants, which postponed previous plans to return in October and in January 2022.
Workers will be given a heads-up four weeks before they are asked to return to working in physical spaces. And they will follow a hybrid model of working in the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and working from home on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Apple also announced that it was temporarily closing three retail stores in Miami; Annapolis, Md.; and Ottawa, Ontario, this week due to a spike in COVID cases among employees at those stores. This comes on the heels of colleges and universities such as Cornell, Princeton and George Washington moving final exams online and canceling in-person events and activities in response to COVID outbreaks on their campuses.
And Apple isn’t the only company rescheduling its back-to-office date. Facebook parent company Meta Platforms Inc. FB, -2.50% recently said that it will fully reopen its U.S. offices at the end of January, but workers can defer coming back to the office until as late as June 2022.
And Alphabet’s GOOGL, -0.08% GOOG, -0.28% Google, Ford Co. F, -1.77% and Lyft LYFT, +1.44% have also delayed when employees will need to report to work in-person again.
The U.S. is averaging about 1,300 COVID deaths a day, according to a New York Times tracker, and about 120,000 new cases. European Union leaders were meeting on Thursday to coordinate a response to the omicron variant spreading across the continent.