The rideshare companies also eased other various protocols sparked by COVID-19.
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Rideshare companies Uber and Lyft made face masks optional for both passengers and drivers on Tuesday after the Transportation Security Administration said it would no longer enforce the federal transportation mask mandate.

Uber sent out a notice to customers along with a similar note to drivers on Tuesday morning, the company confirmed to T+L, dropping mask requirements in cars. Uber has required masks to be worn in cars since 2020.

"Masks are no longer required, but they're still recommended," the company wrote, adding, "the CDC still recommends wearing a mask if you have certain personal risk factors and/or high transmission levels in your area. Remember: Many people may still feel safer wearing a mask because of personal or family health situations, so please be respectful of their preferences."

In addition to masks, Uber said it would update its front-seat policy, allowing customers to once again sit in the passenger seat next to the driver. However, the company asked passengers to "use the front seat only if you need it due to the size of your group."

Similarly, Lyft also made masks optional on Tuesday and said "health safety reasons" like not wearing a mask "will no longer appear as cancellation options in the app." The company will also no longer require riders or drivers to keep the front seat empty or the windows open.

A close-up of an Uber sticker on the side of a car in Cardiff, Wales
Credit: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

"We know that everyone has different comfort levels, and anyone who wants to continue wearing a mask is encouraged to do so," the company told T+L in an email. "As always, drivers or riders can decline to accept or cancel any ride they don't wish to take."

The decision to relax protocols comes nearly a year after Lyft reintroduced shared rides with some COVID-19-era modifications in place.

The federal transportation mask mandate, which was first implemented in January 2021 and extended several times since, required face coverings be worn on planes, in airports, on trains, buses, and on other forms of public transport like rideshares. After a federal judge in Florida voided the mask mandate, several airlines dropped their own face covering protocols.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.