Uber, Lyft to require masks

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Uber and Lyft are updating their driver and passenger requirements as state and local government begin to ease stay-at-home orders.

The rideshare giants are requiring all parties to wear masks, while noting that accountability among both drivers and riders will decide whether the rules are followed.

Uber announced its changes this week. The company says they will go into effect on Monday, May 18th and last through the end of June.

Before a driver or Uber Eats delivery driver can begin their shift, they are asked to confirm via a checklist in the app that they’re wearing a mask or face-covering.

Drivers will also be asked to take a selfie, so the company can verify they are covering their face.

Those who aren’t will not be able to go online.

“We’ve designed this feature to adapt to changing public health guidance and regulations as the pandemic evolves,” Uber said in an issued statement.

The rules for riders are less strict, although there is still a face-covering verification process before each ride.

Riders can no longer sit in the front seat and must have windows open for ventilation. Uber is also reducing the capacity in its UberX rides from four to three people.

Uber said the onus is on both drivers and passengers to enforce the rules.

The company encourages drivers to cancel trips without any penalty if a rider refuses to wear a mask. It also says riders can cancel their trip without penalty if a driver’s face isn’t covered.

“Uber’s two-way feedback system has long helped ensure both riders and drivers uphold certain standards by requiring feedback on issues like vehicle quality, navigation, and speeding.,” the company said. “Drivers and riders who repeatedly violate mask policies risk losing access to Uber.”

The announcement comes after Lyft announced a series of upcoming safety-related changes last week.

Lyft also says there will be a verification process to make sure both riders and drivers are wearing masks.

The company also says it will distribute masks and cleaning supplies to its drivers.

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