"Apple Headquarters" by gabrielsaldana is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

US tech giant Apple has postponed the return of staff to its offices until January at the very earliest, due to surging COVID cases and the presence of new variants, it has told employees.

Staff were originally set to return to the company’s offices from October, but according to a memo sent to employees on Thursday and seen by Bloomberg, this return has been delayed – for the second time.

The memo, sent by HR and retail head Diedre O’Brien explained that the company does not expect to shutter its offices or retail stores, but encouraged staff to get vaccinated.

The manufacturer in July cancelled their planned September return to the office, and after dropping its store mask policy in June, reinstated it barely a month later.

When staff are eventually able to return to the Apple offices, they will be expected to work at the office for at least three days per week.

Other major tech companies have also been delaying their return to the office plans for employees, with some even stipulating that returning staff must get vaccinated.

Apple is joined by fellow tech giants in the form of Amazon and Facebook in delaying a summer return.

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