Uber has remained in service for essential trips during the coronavirus pandemic, but the company has otherwise urged riders to stay home. As people begin to head out more, Uber is introducing new health and safety measures. The company is calling it "your second first trip with Uber," and here's what it will look like.
As states begin to loosen stay-at-home orders, social distancing and other preventative measures will likely stay in place for the foreseeable future. To help make it possible for Uber drivers and riders to abide by social distancing measures, the rideshare company is making some changes in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Beginning on Monday, May 18, Uber will implement new online checklists and mask verification feature. Drivers for Uber will be required to complete Uber's online checklist, which will show up in their app, before they can start a shift. It includes verifying the driver is wearing a mask or face covering by taking a selfie, in addition to taking other safety precautions like sanitizing the vehicle, washing and sanitizing their hands, and agreeing to stay offline (not giving rides) if they're experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms. Before getting in a ride, riders will receive a message verifying their driver is wearing a mask.
Similarly, riders must also complete a checklist before getting into a ride, which includes not riding if they're experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Riders must wear a face covering, as well as wash or sanitize their hands before getting into the car. They'll also need to sit in the back seat and open windows, when possible, for ventilation. The maximum suggested passengers for an Uber X ride is also being reduced from four to three, to follow distancing guidelines. Uber also recommends riders handle their own baggage.
Both drivers and riders who do not wear face coverings will not be able to use the app. If you violate the mask policy more than once, you may lose your access to Uber. If drivers don't feel safe because the rider is not wearing a mask, Uber is encouraging them cancel rides when reasonable. A rider can also cancel a trip and report the issue to Uber if their driver shows up without a mask on. To make it easier to report these issues, Uber is adding new feedback options, including health expectations. As always, Uber drivers and riders may not discriminate against anyone based on race.
The new online checklist and mask policy will be effective through the end of June 2020. After that period, Uber will reassess regions according to public health guidance and regulations.
Uber is also making it easier for drivers to receive important supplies like masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfectants, and wipes. Some drivers have already received these supplies via home delivery, and the company is also reopening some of its Greenlight Hubs — partner help centers — which will distribute supplies to drivers who need them.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Elite Daily's coverage of coronavirus here.