Uber To Allow Drivers To Deny Passengers Without Masks

SEATTLE, WA — Starting Monday, Uber drivers and their passengers will be required to wear masks before the ride can begin.

To enforce the rule, the rideshare company is changing its app to require photo proof that a mask is being worn by the driver. Drivers will have to submit a selfie of themselves in a mask or face covering before starting a shift. Once the app has verified that a mask is being worn in the photo, the driver can start the shift.

Once the shift begins, the driver will be able to pick up only customers who are also wearing a mask. Passengers will have to confirm that they’re wearing a mask or face covering and have been frequently washing their hands before they be queued for a ride. Passengers are not required to submit a photo of themselves to hire a rideshare, but they can be dropped from the ride if they aren’t wearing one when the driver arrives.

Once the trip begins, Uber passengers then have to sit in the back seat of the vehicle with the windows open for maximum ventilation.

Uber says drivers who don’t feel safe or whose customers are not wearing masks are encouraged to cancel their ride. A similar policy is in place for passengers. Any passenger whose driver arrives without a face mask or cover can cancel their trip on the app without penalty. The app’s end-of-trip feedback will now also ask passengers if their driver wore a mask and followed safe social distancing guidelines. The company says drivers who repeatedly violate the mask requirement could be kicked off Uber’s service.

In a statement, the company said it is proud to take safety measures like these if they help protect communities:

“During the first phase of the crisis, it’s been heartening to see our communities come together with a collective sense of responsibility. As we move into the new normal, it’s our goal to encourage this same sense of shared responsibility: Uber, riders, drivers, delivery people and restaurants—we all have a role to play in keeping each other safe and healthy.”

The new regulations affect all drivers and passengers across the United States, Canada, India and most of Latin America and Europe. The changes will remain in effect at least through the end of June. After that, the company says, it will reassess each area based on the current status of the outbreak and public health needs.

Uber also says it is doing what it can to make masks and other personal protective equipment available to its drivers. The rideshare company has set aside $50 million to buy masks, disinfectants, gloves and hand sanitizer for drivers. It says that money has already bought more than 23 million masks for drivers worldwide.

Lyft announced a similar change to its app May 7. Uber’s full release on the new requirements can be found here.

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