Uber, Lyft drop mask requirements
Passengers are no longer required to wear masks while riding with Uber or Lyft in the U.S., the companies announced Tuesday.
The decision to lift the requirement for passengers and drivers comes a day after a federal judge struck down the federal government’s mask mandate for planes, trains and buses.
“You can now ride without a mask and use the front seat if you need to,” Uber said in a statement. “While mask usage is still recommended, we’ve updated our Covid Safety policies.”
Uber’s safety landing page encourages riders and drivers to “roll down the windows for extra airflow, sanitize your hands before and after trips or deliveries, and always cover your cough or sneeze.”
“Masks are now optional while riding or driving with Lyft,” a Lyft spokesperson told The Hill. “We know that everyone has different comfort levels, and anyone who wants to continue wearing a mask is encouraged to do so.”
Uber has previously dropped mask mandates in Britain and the Netherlands, generally following local requirements.
The decision to lift mask requirements was met with criticism from drivers Tuesday who worry about potential exposure to COVID-19 and feel they will have little control over whether their passengers mask up or not.
“Uber and Lyft are playing politics with our lives,” said Rondu Gantt, a rideshare driver in the Bay Area and an organizer with the driver group Gig Workers Rising. “We’re in a confined space and if a rider refuses to wear a mask and we ask them to leave the car, we’re at risk of getting a bad review and possibly deactivated.”
“For them to make this decision without consulting us is sickening,” Jason Munderloh, another organizer, added. “It shows yet again they never cared about worker safety, and refuse to take responsibility for the drivers who bring in billions of dollars in revenue.”
Coronavirus cases are again rising rapidly in the U.S. Hospitalizations have not surged, suggesting new cases may be less severe.
Airlines United, Delta, Alaska, American and Southwest all dropped their mask requirements following the ruling Monday.
The White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to recommend wearing masks on public transport.
—Updated at 4:10 p.m.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.