Apple’s stores have closed, opened and — in some cases — closed again during the pandemic.


Apple

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Apple’s iPhone and iPad design teams have developed face masks that the company reportedly plans to offer to its retail employees to help protect them while working amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The new masks, earlier reported by Bloomberg and MacRumors, have a three-layer design to filters particles. They can be washed and reused up to five times and appear to have a more pronounced triangle shape at the top than do other masks, reportedly to better sit on people’s noses without fogging up glasses. They also have a rounded bottom for people’s chins, and the ear strings are adjustable.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the masks or whether they’ll be sold to the public.

Apple’s specially designed masks mark the latest way that the company has attempted to tackle the challenges of maintaining a business amid one of the worst public health crises in a century. The coronavirus has so far sickened more than 27 million people worldwide, killing at least 904,000.

The tech giant was one of the first major firms to publicly warn that the coronavirus would affect worldwide shipments and operations, raising alarms as early as February. It’s since sent most of its employees to work from home and either continued paying retail employees while stores are shut or having them help customers over the phone.  

It’s also reopened some of its 510 stores across 25 countries as conditions have improved. But in some cases, those stores had to close again when infections spiked.

Apple’s face masks are not the first COVID-19 products it has produced. In April, Apple designed and sent millions of face shields to essential workers and hospitals. The company has now reportedly working to bring a different face shield to its retail employees as well.

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