US-based technology giant Apple has temporarily closed three of its retail stores in the US and Canada amid rising cases of Covid-19 in the countries.
One store is located in the Brickell City Centre in Miami, while the other two are in Annapolis, Maryland, and Ottawa, Ontario.
The company has reportedly mandated its store employees to take Covid-19 tests before the stores are reopened.
In a statement, an Apple spokesperson said: “We regularly monitor conditions and we will adjust our health measures to support the wellbeing of customers and employees.
“We remain committed to a comprehensive approach for our teams that combines regular testing with daily health checks, employee and customer masking, deep cleaning and paid sick leave.”
The closures come after Apple reportedly closed one store in Southlake, Texas, due to Covid-19 last week.
In addition, the company has reinstated its mandatory face mask policy at all its stores across the country.
Face masks were previously only necessary at Apple’s US stores in areas that required them.
In California, where Apple is headquartered, a month-long indoor mask mandate has been imposed.
Apple has implemented various other store policies, including prioritising customer pickups through online purchases and maintaining social distancing inside stores in response to regional requirements.
Covid-19 cases are currently increasing in some parts of the US and Canada.
The spread of the new Omicron variant has caused concern for several major companies, which have tightened their protocols in response.
Apple had previously planned to allow its employees to return to the office on 1 February next year under a hybrid working model, but this has now been postponed to an undecided date.
In March, the company reopened all its stores in the US after the country was gradually relieved from coronavirus-related restrictions.