Amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Uber is rolling out a new update that aims to further protect its drivers. While all passengers and drivers are currently required to wear some kind of face covering to help slow the spread of the virus, Uber's new rider mask verification adds another layer of protection. Here's how the new feature works to keep passengers accountable.
You may recall the company rolled out driver and rider safety checklists in May, which includes a masked selfie verification update for drivers in the driver app. To further ensure the use of masks, Uber announced a similar feature for passengers on Tuesday, Sept. 1, and it will roll out over the next few weeks. Just like the driver version, which ensures all drivers are wearing masks during their rides by requiring them to take a selfie with a face covering on, riders may also now be asked to verify they are wearing a mask with a selfie.
There are some differences between the driver and rider requirements: Unlike drivers, not all passengers will be required to submit a masked verification via the app every time you take a ride. Instead, you'll only be required to take one if your driver reports you for not wearing a mask or face covering in his or her driver app. If you're reported and refuse to verify you're wearing a mask, as is Uber's current policy, you won't be able to request a ride in the future. Drivers can currently cancel trips for riders who aren't wearing masks by reporting "No face cover or mask" to Uber's support team.
Uber's latest coronavirus safety feature will fully roll out in the United States and Canada by the end of September, and it will be added to the app in Latin America and other countries following the September rollout.
Uber's mask requirement is in line with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance as of Aug. 5, which recommends two years old and older should wear a face mask to help slow the spread of the virus. Riders and drivers can always cancel an Uber trip at no cost to them if the other person isn't wearing a mask.
In addition to this new rider feature, Uber also announced it will be helping drivers have a cleaner driving environment by providing them with free personal protective equipment like masks, hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes through the end of 2020. However, passengers should keep in mind that these supplies are for the use of drivers, and it is up to the driver's discretion whether or not to share any of these items with a rider.
As always, riders should continue practicing certain safety precautions before and during their ride in addition to wearing a face cover. If you're a rider, you should also wash or sanitize your hands before you get in the car, and sit in the back seat with open windows for maximum ventilation.
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.