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Apple will reportedly provide optional COVID-19 tests for employees as they return to work (AAPL)

apple campus park night aerial drone SUNNYVALE, CA: OCTOBER 22: Apple Park's spaceship campus is seen from this drone view in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, Oct. 22, 2019. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group) (Photo by Jane Tyska/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)
  • Apple will offer optional COVID-19 tests for employees as they return to the office, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
  • The company will also require temperature checks and masks, limit the number of people in crowded spaces, and keep many of its break-room kitchens closed, according to Bloomberg.
  • Apple, with its hardware focus and secretive culture around new products, has been more eager than other major tech firms to reopen its offices and began allowing some employees back in May.
  • Other companies, including Amazon, are also looking to test employees as they adapt to a new work environment amid the ongoing pandemic.
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As Apple employees gradually begin returning to the office, they'll have the option to receive COVID-19 nasal swab tests when they show up for work, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
The company will also require that employees have their temperature checked upon arrival, wear masks, and limit their numbers in confined places like elevators, according to Bloomberg. Apple will also make modifications to its headquarters in Cupertino, California, like keeping break-room kitchens closed and reconfiguring open-office floor plans.
Apple, which was one of the first major tech companies to halt employee travel and close retail stores as the coronavirus began to spread outside of China earlier this year, has also been one of the first to start bringing employees back into the office.
In mid-May, Bloomberg reported that Apple began a phased return-to-work approach, initially allowing some hardware and software engineers to resume working out of its headquarters several days per week.
Apple, with a focus on building hardware and a secretive culture that has reportedly made it difficult for employees to work remotely, has taken a starkly different approach than rivals like Google and Facebook, which are allowing their employees to work remote until the end of 2020 (or even indefinitely if they choose, in Facebook's case).
Other companies that are charting more aggressive timelines, including Amazon, have also started building up capacity to test employees. CEO Jeff Bezos told shareholders in April that the company is aiming to test all employees, and Business Insider reported in May that the company has begun a pilot program for warehouse workers.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.
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