An Apple store in Southlake, Texas, is closed Wednesday through Sunday this week following an outbreak of positive Covid-19 cases among staff members.
According to an internal email obtained by NBC News, the store, which has 151 employees, reported four positive cases immediately after Black Friday on November 26th.
Now, 22 employees “have shared that they’re positive for Covid-19,” a store manager told staff during a Webex meeting on Wednesday, according to employees who attended. “They received a positive diagnosis and will return to work after 10 days of isolation as well as 48 hours of being symptom free,” the manager said. All employees will be required to take a rapid antigen test on Sunday before the store’s scheduled reopening on Monday, Dec. 13.
All Apple retail employees at stores nationwide are required to take a Covid-19 survey before coming into work. The survey asks if they’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms and if they’ve been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the disease. All U.S. employees are also required to wear masks.
NBC spoke with four current and former employees at the Southlake store who said they’ve received calls from their manager encouraging them to come to work, even when they called out sick. In two of these cases, the employee had taken the Covid-19 survey and the results said not to come in. The manager did not respond to requests for comment from NBC.
The experience is echoed by an Apple retail employee in another Southern state, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution and said they worked on Black Friday despite experiencing Covid symptoms. The employee had previously asked their manager to take special sick leave, which is an Apple policy that applies to employees experiencing Covid-19 symptoms. But the employee was reportedly told the leave only applied to those who tested positive for the disease — which they had not. According to Apple’s policy, this is false.
One employee, who asked to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to speak publicly about Apple, said they started experiencing symptoms after working on Black Friday at the Southlake store… The employee has since tested positive for Covid, which is a breakthrough case, as the employee is fully vaccinated.
MacDailyNews Take: What’s the issue here? It sounds like (a) Apple is pushing retail store managers to achieve certain results, so they, in turn, push their employees to work while sick thereby causing the store to be closed and the sales targets will be that much more difficult to achieve; a self-defeating cycle. Or, on the other hand, (b) shit happens. COVID-19 is an infectious coronavirus that’s proven to spread regardless of vaccines, masks, etc. Or, third choice, (c) some combination of (a) and (b).
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