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Apple Aims to Bring Back In-Store Classes as It Tiptoes Toward Normalcy

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(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. told U.S. and European retail staff it plans to bring back in-person classes at its stores on Aug. 30, but that plan could be delayed in some areas given a surge in Covid-19 cases.

Apple opened its reservation portal for in-store classes on Monday, allowing consumers to sign up for the courses in advance. The program will resume in the majority of the company’s U.S. locations, including New York stores, but not everywhere. The classes -- branded Today at Apple -- were last held in March 2020, just before the pandemic triggered widespread lockdowns.

The move is the company’s latest attempt to get its operations back on track after a year and a half of Covid disruptions. The return to normalcy has come in fits and starts. The company lifted its mask mandate in stores in June, but then reinstated the requirement in recent weeks after the delta variant led to a spike in virus cases.

Apple isn’t requiring corporate employees to return to their offices until October at the earliest. And the Cupertino, California-based company is likely to push back that timeline even further, matching moves from other companies, such as Lyft Inc.

The Today at Apple classes, which first launched in 2017, include lessons for new iPhone and Mac buyers on how to use their devices, as well as more advanced courses about tools such as the GarageBand music-editing software. During the pandemic, Apple has offered online classes and even an outdoors version in areas such as Los Angeles.

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