Apple has reportedly indefinitely delayed the requirement for its workers to return to the office due to a rise in COVID-19 cases. Workers were expected to return on Feb. 1, but will now return on a "date yet to be determined," Bloomberg reported Wednesday citing an internal memo by Apple CEO Tim Cook.
"We are delaying the start of our hybrid work pilot," Cook reportedly said in the memo, adding the decision was made due to "rising cases in many parts of the world and the emergence of a new strain of the virus."
Cook suggested employees get vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19 "to keep you and your community safe," Bloomberg reported. It follows Google on Tuesday reportedly telling employees they will lose pay and eventually be fired if they don't comply with the company's vaccination rules.
Apple in August delayed its return to office date of October until January, which was last month, then delayed until February. But with the emergence of the highly infectious omicron variant, cases are rapidly on the rise again, leading to this reported indefinite delay. The news comes as the US reaches the grim milestone of 800,000 COVID-19 deaths, according to numbers from the Johns Hopkins' Coronavirus Resource Center.
Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. On Tuesday, Apple also reportedly brought back mask mandates to its stores across the US.