Uber Will Require Riders and Drivers to Wear Face Coverings — and Drivers Will Have to Prove It With a Selfie (Video)
"We will all have a role to play to help each other stay healthy when traveling,” said Uber's CEO.
Uber will require all drivers and customers to wear masks starting Monday in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19 as the company expects more people to start using the service again.
Specifically for drivers — both for Uber and Uber Eats — to prove they are wearing a face covering before starting their shift or after coming off a break by submitting a selfie in the app. Drivers will also have to self-certify they cleaned the vehicle and they regularly sanitize their hands.
As riders are also required to wear masks or facial coverings, they will be asked to verify on an in-app checklist that their face is covered, they're feeling healthy, and have washed or sanitized their hands before getting in a car. They are also required to sit in the back and open the windows for ventilation.
Uber has also limited riders in an UberX to be limited to three people instead of four.
The new policies — titled "Your Second First Trip" — will go into effect in the U.S., Canada, India, as well as most of Europe and Latin America, and last from May 18 through at least the end of June.
“For more than two months, Uber has been urging riders to stay home, for their safety and the safety of drivers who continue to make essential trips,” Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO, wrote in a post provided to Travel + Leisure. “Now, as cities begin to reopen and people start moving again, Uber is proceeding with caution and safety top of mind. We will all have a role to play to help each other stay healthy when traveling.”
In addition to drivers, riders will be asked to wear masks, but won’t have to prove it with a photo.
Drivers can also refuse a ride “if they feel unsafe because riders haven't taken precaution,” and riders can cancel a trip without penalty if they feel the same about the driver.
So far, Uber said it has shipped more than 5 million masks to drivers and has plans to deliver more as well as allocated $50 million to purchase things like hand sanitizer, disinfectant sprays, and wipes.
The new guidelines come after Uber took precautions to prevent the spread of the contagious virus, including suspending the use of the “pool” option, which remains inactive.
Uber isn’t alone in requiring riders and drivers to agree to wear masks. Last week, competitor Lyft said masks have to be worn and required both drivers and riders to agree to a ‘Personal Health Certification,’ including disclosing if they have any symptoms.