Uber will require all of its drivers and riders worldwide to wear masks over their faces for the foreseeable future, Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said Wednesday.
Khosrowshahi made the announcement during a conference call outlining new health and safety steps Uber is taking in order to ease concerns about the possibility of exposure to the coronavirus at a time when state on local governments are beginning to loosen some of the societal restrictions meant to help contain the outbreak.
The mask-wearing requirements will also be applied to Uber Eats delivery drivers, and will go into effect on Monday, May 18. All drivers will have to take a picture of themselves with their mask on before they begin driving, and also verify that they aren’t showing any COVID-19 symptoms. Drivers will also have to confirm they have sanitized their cars and agree to drive with their windows down.
Khosrowshah said that Uber has also set aside $50 million to pay for masks and sanitation products for its drivers.
In addition to wearing masks, riders will have to confirm they have washed or sanitized their hands and agree to only sit in a car’s backseat with open windows for ventilation. Uber said it is also lowering the suggested maximum number of passengers for an UberX ride to three riders instead of four.
Uber’s new safety requirements come after its top rival, Lyft, announced similar measures last week.
The ride-hailing industry has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, as shelter-in-place edicts around the country have closed businesses and kept millions of people at home in an effort to tamp down on the spread of coronavirus. Last week, Uber said it would cut 3,700 jobs, or about 14% of its workforce, due to the financial impact coronavirus has had upon its business.