Uber to require drivers and passengers to wear face masks

Uber drivers in California can now set their own prices.

Uber will soon require its drivers and customers to wear face coverings during transport, reports CNN. The ride-hailing company plans to roll out the anti-COVID-19 policy in several regions in the coming weeks, including the U.S. The firm is also developing technology to ensure its operators wear masks when transporting passengers.

How COVID-19 has Affected Uber

Like many companies, Uber has suffered significant financial losses because of the coronavirus pandemic. The combination of consumer anxiety and shelter-in-place orders caused the technology company to experience a 50 percent drop in bookings. The corporation responded by expanding its Eats offerings to include convenience store goods, pet food, and over-the-counter medication.

However, as the service made 89 percent of its revenue from its ride-hailing segment in Q4 2019, the corporation’s pivots have not mitigated its losses. Indeed, The Information reported last week that Uber is considering cutting 20 percent of its workforce to reduce its overhead. The corporation also announced it would discontinue its Eats service in seven countries this June.

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The firm is also taking steps to make its online taxi solution more palatable in a post-COVID-19 world.

The company’s new policy will require its riders and independent contractors to don face coverings before initiating a ride. The San Francisco-based corporation is also developing a method of verifying that its drivers are wearing masks before making pickups. CNN noted the ride-hailing concern intends to supply its operators with masks and disinfectant spray once volume quantities become available.

The New Normal?

Though it is the most recent, Uber is far from the only large organization to alter its services in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Didi Chuxing, a popular Chinese ride-hailing service, made changes to its operations to reassure health-conscious riders in March. The company also provided its drivers with masks, disinfectants, and other PPE and plastic dividers to separate passengers and operators. New York City epidemiology professor Robyn Gershon told CNN she supports the notion of protective barriers in online taxies.

American Airlines, JetBlue, and Delta Air Lines all recently announced plans to require employees and passengers to wear face masks when flying. Moreover, e-commerce giant Amazon and carmaker GM are requiring employees to wear PPE while working at its sites.

Wired recently reported theaters in Texas are using “airport-security-style check-ins” to halt the spread of the coronavirus in its locations. Before permitting entry, staff will scan patrons with infrared temperature sensors and question them about the health of their households.

Government agencies across the United States are also launching new policies to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, officials in Montana deployed the state’s National Guard to perform COVID-19 screenings at Glacier Park International Airport and the Whitefish train depot. Similarly, New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority will bathe its buses and subway in powerful ultraviolet light to sanitize their fleet.

As the government officials believe a second coronavirus outbreak is possible this winter, PPE, plastic barriers, and temperature scanners might become a permanent part of the American landscape.


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