Uber Will Require Drivers and Riders to Wear Face Coverings amid Coronavirus Pandemic

The ride-share company noted that they "continue to ask riders to stay home if they can" but will make masks the new normal when resuming everyday service

person driving wearing mask
Photo: Getty

Uber will soon mandate that its drivers and customers wear masks to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

On Sunday, CNN Business reported that the ride-share service is planning to implement the requirement in the U.S. while charting a return to everyday business during the pandemic. A start date was not given, though, in certain regions, it's already a requirement for drivers to wear face coverings while working.

"As countries reopen, Uber is focused on safety and proceeding with caution," a spokesperson told PEOPLE, confirming the report. "Today, we continue to ask riders to stay home if they can, while shipping safety supplies to drivers who are providing essential trips. At the same time, our teams are preparing for the next phase of recovery, where we will all have a role to play."

Added the spokesperson: "We’ll communicate updates directly to users when ready, but in the meantime we continue to urge all riders and drivers to wear masks or face coverings when using Uber."

The company is also looking into developing face-scanning technology that would confirm whether the driver is following the policy and donning a mask, according to CNN Business.

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Though competitor Lyft hasn't implemented a mask requirement yet, the company told CBS News that it has made face coverings available to its drivers. Uber also shipped masks and disinfectants to its drivers earlier this month.

"We've also ordered hundreds of thousands of cloth face coverings for drivers and have been making them available to drivers at no cost to them," a spokesperson told the outlet. "We've made drivers aware that it's required by law to wear a face covering in certain regions, and we're prioritizing distribution in regions where additional guidance about face coverings has been given."

Lyft has taken similar action, a representative tells PEOPLE, ordering "hundreds of thousands of cloth face coverings for drivers" and " making them available to drivers at no cost to them."

"We will continue to distribute in the coming weeks," the representative said, adding, "These face coverings are part of the nearly $1.5 million we’ve dedicated to cleaning supplies and protective equipment."

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A number of airlines will also make face covering policies the new normal on board flights. Last week, companies including American, United, Southwest, Delta, Frontier and JetBlue were among the growing list of airlines announcing the requirement.

“Wearing a face covering isn’t about protecting yourself — it’s about protecting those around you,” said Joanna Geraghty, president and COO of JetBlue, who led the others in their decision, said in a press release on April 27. “This is the new flying etiquette.”

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