Starting Monday, Uber is rolling out new health measures in order to continue safely providing rides amidst the coronavirus pandemic. As is the case with Lyft's new plan announced last week, the main requirement is that drivers and riders both wear masks. But Uber's approach goes a step further than Lyft's self-certification mask policy with its Go Online Checklist, which requires drivers to take selfies to verify that they are, in fact, wearing masks. Once a driver has been verified with Uber's Real-Time ID Check system, the rider will be notified and the ride can proceed. It's a crucial precaution, but one that also begs the question of why riders aren't required to do the same.
Riders, like drivers, will be first met with a safety checklist where they must agree to wash and sanitize their hands before riding, wear a mask, sit in the back seat, and keep windows open when possible. But there isn't a selfie verification step to keep riders accountable. Instead, drivers are encouraged to cancel trips if their rider isn't wearing a mask and they feel unsafe. Same goes for riders — either party can cancel a ride without penalty for this reason, and users will now have the option to provide feedback indicating that a rider or driver didn't wear a face mask. To support drivers, Uber is providing $50 million worth of supplies like masks, disinfectant sprays, wipes, hand sanitizer, and gloves to drivers and delivery people, including 23 million masks.
This policy will go into effect in United States, Canada, India and most of Europe and Latin America beginning on Monday, May 18 and will continue at least through the end of June, at which point the company says the situation will be reassessed.