Following high-profile internal departures and a spike in COVID-19 cases in the Bay Area, Silicon Valley tech behemoth Apple will temporarily abandon its plan to require all Apple employees to return to the office three days a week.

As Bloomberg reported Tuesday, employees were required to ramp up their return into the office May 23 — one of the most aggressive campaigns by a large Silicon Valley company to compel its staffers to return to the office. In April, all employees were required to come into the office at least twice a week.

While Apple employees will not be required to show up three times a week, they still have to come in twice a week — and will have to now wear masks inside any shared spaces in the company’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters, Bloomberg confirmed. There is no confirmed date for when employees will have to go into the office three times a week. 

The news comes during a surge in COVID-19 cases across the Bay Area, currently among the most severe in California. But Apple is also dealing with mass internal gripes over the company’s stringent return-to-office plan. While many other Bay Area tech companies have embraced remote work — among them Square, Twitter and Salesforce — Apple has been adamant about its plan to bring people back into the office.

Apple executive Ian Goodfellow, who helmed the company’s machine learning division, announced his departure earlier this month, motivated in large part by his concerns over the company’s push for in-office work.

The company’s employees also expressed their concerns over Goodfellow’s departure and the company’s in-office plan on Blind, the anonymous job board popular with the Silicon Valley tech class.

“… at [Apple] it is practically impossible to transfer to remote while all other companies … are allowing people to remote and posting remote positions,” said one Apple employee.

Another employee said, “Attrition has been high recently at Apple. I think more people than just those speaking out are against RTO … they are just quietly going out and finding better opportunities. If the current Covid wave continues to rise it will be a shame to have lost this many people.”

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