Uber is doubling down on its mask-wearing rule by extending the requirement indefinitely for rides in the U.S. and Canada.
The rule, which came into force in May 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, had been set to stay effective until the end of June. But with infection rates on the rise in numerous states across the U.S., the company now says riders and drivers must wear a face-covering during trips until further notice.
“Extending our mandatory mask policy is the right thing to do,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote in a tweet. “Help keep yourself, your driver, and the next rider safe. No Mask, No Ride!”
A video posted by Uber carries the same message, and also shows how its Uber Eats delivery personnel are required to wear a mask during their work, too:
If a passenger refuses to wear a face covering, drivers have the power to cancel the ride. Likewise, if a driver is not wearing a covering, the passenger can cancel the trip and also report the driver.
The ridesharing behemoth is asking drivers to snap a selfie at the start of their shift to show they’re wearing a mask. It also sends a notification to riders to remind them of the mask requirement prior to the start of a trip.
The wearing of face coverings has become a contentious issue in the U.S., but there’s broad agreement that while they may offer little protection against someone catching the virus, they can be effective in preventing an infectious person from spreading it to others. This is important as some people with the coronavirus display no symptoms. But experts have pointed out that adjusting and removing a face covering can cause someone to touch their face more than usual, which could increase the risk of infection. Regularly discarding, or washing, a face covering is also an important part of mask hygiene.
Ridesharing numbers tanked earlier this year as stay-at-home measures were put in place in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus. In recent weeks, some states had begun to open up, giving hope to Uber drivers keen to get back to work, but a rise in reported infections in a number of locations across the country means the industry could be about to take another hit.
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