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Uber makes changes to app to enforce face coverings and other COVID-19 safety guidelines

Drivers will have to verify they have a mask before they can accept rides
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Posted at 1:09 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 15:09:23-04

SAN FRANCISCO — Uber is making changes to its app to encourage drivers and riders to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Before a driver or delivery person can go online, they will be asked to confirm, via a new Go Online Checklist, that they’ve taken certain safety measures and are wearing a mask or face covering.

The ridesharing company says their new technology will verify if the driver is wearing a mask by asking them to take a selfie.

After they verify the driver is using a face covering of some sort, they’ll let the rider know via an in-app message.

Unlike their Real-Time ID Check system, this technology detects the mask as an object in the photo, and does not process biometric information or compare mask selfies to driver photos in their database.

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In the United States, Canada, India and most of Europe and Latin America, drivers who are not wearing a mask or face covering will not be able to offer rides or deliveries beginning Monday, May 18th 2020.

Uber says the policy will remain in place through the end of June. They plan to reassess the policy based on local public health needs.

The ridesharing service say they designed this feature to adapt to changing public health guidance and regulations as the pandemic evolves.

Uber has also built a similar checklist for riders.

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Before every trip, riders must confirm that they’ve taken precautions like wearing a face covering and washing or sanitizing their hands.

They must also agree to sit in the back seat and open windows for ventilation

Uber is also reducing the maximum suggested number of passengers for an UberX ride to 3 from 4.

If a driver shows up without a mask on, the rider can cancel the trip without penalty and report the issue to them via the app.

Drivers and riders who repeatedly violate mask policies risk losing access to Uber.

All of this follows Lyft's decision to require drivers and riders to wear face coverings and answer questions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.