In light of the rapid spread of COVID-19, many companies are implementing new policies. And, of course, Uber and Lyft, two companies that depend on person-to-person contact for business, are no exceptions.
Today, an Uber spokesperson told Refinery29 via email, "We are always working to help keep everyone who uses Uber safe. We have a dedicated global team, guided by the advice of a consulting public health expert, working to respond in every market where we operate around the world. We remain in close contact with local public health authorities and will continue to follow their guidance to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus." Uber has introduced a Coronavirus Resources & Updates page on its website where drivers and customers can stay informed.
Last night, Uber announced in an email, the contents of which were first reported by CNN, that it may suspend the accounts of riders and drivers who have contracted or been exposed to Coronavirus. The dedicated global team mentioned in Uber's statement will be making decisions about temporarily suspending accounts and epidemiologists are also being consulted.
If you're worried that Uber drivers who contract COVID-19 will have their accounts suspended and left in the lurch, fear not. On its website, the ridesharing company states that any driver or delivery person who is diagnosed with the virus or is individually asked to self-isolate by a public health authority will receive financial assistance for up to 14 days while their account is on hold.
In addition to preventing affected drivers from coming into contact with customers, Uber is also working to provide drivers with disinfectants to help them keep their cars clean. As anyone who has recently tried to buy hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes knows, cleaning supplies are limited at the moment. However, Uber is partnering with manufacturers and distributors to source as much as possible, and it is prioritizing drivers in cities that have the greatest need.
Uber isn't the only ride-sharing company that has a team set up to handle COVID-19 concerns. According to the latest info on the coronavirus page on its website, Lyft has created its own internal task force dedicated solely to the issue.
Lyft also plans to temporarily suspend the accounts of riders or drivers who test positive for COVID-19 until they are medically cleared. Drivers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or drivers who are individually put under quarantine by a public health agency will receive funds from Lyft.
Together with EO Products, Lyft will be distributing more than 200,000 free bottles of hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies to drivers in the coming days. Drivers will be alerted when the products are available in their city.