Beginning Monday, Uber will require its drivers and passengers worldwide to wear face masks during trips in a bid to curb fears about the spread of coronavirus.
The ride-hailing giant’s new mandate arrived along with a number of other COVID-19-related safety features that will become mandatory. Uber also said its Uber X ride service was capped at three passengers per ride for the foreseeable future, and that all passengers must sit together in the back of the car.
In a Wednesday Zoom call with journalists, Uber also said that it would be spending $50 million on supplies like gloves, disinfectant and masks for its drivers. The company said that it has obtained 20 million masks so far, and has given out a quarter of them to drivers.
Moving forward, drivers will need to submit a selfie before accepting rides to prove that their faces are covered. If the app does not detect a covering over their face, they will not be allowed to accept a trip.
“Verification is really important,” Uber’s senior director of product management Sachin Kansal told reporters on a Zoom briefing Wednesday. “It is one thing for us to issue requirements, but sometimes we have to enforce those requirements.”
Drivers must also verify each day that they do not exhibit any coronavirus symptoms, confirm that they have sanitized their vehicles and agree to roll down windows during rides.
Passengers will also be prompted by the app to confirm that they are wearing a mask or face covering, though they will not be required to submit a photo. Drivers and passengers will be able to cancel the trip with no penalty if they see that the other is not wearing a mask before they get in the car.
If a driver or passenger removes their mask during the ride, Uber asks that the other give them less than five stars, and has added lack of face mask as an option when the app asks why they did not receive a perfect rating.
Repeat offenders risk losing access to Uber altogether, the company said.