Uber will require riders and drivers to wear face masks starting May 18th

Igor Bonifacic
Contributing Writer
Uber Driver with mask

Following on the heels of Lyft, Uber is introducing new rules to keep its users safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Starting on May 18th, Uber will require drivers, delivery people and riders to wear face protection before they can start using the service. The company is introducing a new safety checklist feature that will require its contractors in the US, Canada, India and parts of Europe and Latin America to take a selfie to prove they're wearing a face cover or mask. 

Riders, similarly, will have to go through their own checklist before they can get into an Uber ride. The app will ask them to confirm that they're wearing a mask and that they washed or sanitized their hands. Both groups will be able to cancel a trip without incurring a penalty if someone shows up without proper protection. "Drivers and riders who repeatedly violate mask policies risk losing access to Uber," the company said.

Uber plans to maintain the policy until the end of June, at which point it will reassess the situation. The company is also quick to note the new checklist feature won't compare the selfie drivers and delivery people take against the company's existing photo database. It also won't process any biometric information.

In addition to the checklist feature, the company will suggest UberX drivers only transport a maximum of three passengers at any given time. It has also earmarked $50 million to purchase cleaning and safety supplies for its contractors. 

The new rules come as Uber tries to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic's effects on its business. At the start of May, the company announced it would lay off 3,700 full-time employees. According to a recent report from The Information, ride requests are down by as much as 80 percent.