Face Coverings: Uber’s New Rule

As many states have reopened or are in the process of reopening, Uber has new requirements for riders and drivers. Starting May 18th, 2020, riders and drivers using Uber will need to have a face covering. Right now, Uber wants this rule to last until the end of June, but they will reassess the situation at that time. Due to stay at home orders and general safety precautions from health experts, many people have decided to stay in. And when people stay in, businesses such as Uber, which rely on people moving around, suffer. Now that more people are beginning to move around again, Uber took a step to protect drivers and riders from spreading COVID-19. The purpose of this post is to inform drivers and riders alike about Uber’s new rule and how they plan to enforce it.

Remember March?

Back in March of this year, Uber and Lyft put out guidelines for drivers on how to navigate COVID-19. However, back in March, health officials did not recommend people wear face coverings. Instead, washing your hands and disinfecting was thought to be enough to stop COVID-19, and face coverings were deemed useless. Since then many things have changed regarding the government’s response to the virus. Now that face coverings are recommended, most businesses and local governments require people wear one in public. With new information guiding them, Uber will require both riders and drivers to have a face covering, and they have a plan on enforcing it. 

Face Check

The health of our communities is on all of us, and with that in mind, Uber has requirements for riders before they enter a car. As Uber points out on its website, accountability is a two way street, meaning riders will need to comply with new rules as well. Before entering their ride, a rider must confirm with Uber that they have washed their hands, and are wearing a face covering.

Unlike their driver’s verification, Uber will not use a photo system to confirm riders are wearing a mask. Instead, Uber will rely on drivers to enforce their rules, which may mean cancelling a ride. In fact, Uber states on it’s website that it encourages drivers to cancel rides if riders do not comply.

Two-Way Street

As businesses begin reopening and more people get back to work, ride share services should see more traffic. Since, ride share drivers often see multiple customers a day, Uber wants both riders and drivers to wear face coverings. Instead of it being a recommendation, Uber plans on enforcing the rule in an interesting way. Before drivers start their shift, Uber will require that they take a picture of themselves with a face covering on.

Once it can be verified that a driver has a mask on, Uber will send riders a message. Along with the face covering verification, Uber also requires that drivers take other health safety precautions as well. Yet, riders be warned, you will be required to do your part.

Enforcement

By now, you may be asking how Uber plans on curbing people’s urge to remove their face covering. Once a rider enters the car with their face covered, what is there to keep them from taking it off? What about the driver? Well, Uber will simply rely on its review system. As you may or may not know, Uber uses a star rating system for both riders and drivers. In addition to the rating system, Uber uses a two way feedback report to determine if riders or drivers are complying. In other words, if a rider removes their mask, drivers can report them and vice versa. 

Other Important Rules

As a note to riders, Uber has put new rules out for where they should sit in the car. Uber is asking riders to occupy the back seats, which puts more space between the driver and rider. Additionally, if you order an UberX, the number of passengers allowed has been reduced from 4 to 3.

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