SAN FRANCISCO — Mask slackers will now have to provide photographic proof they're wearing a face covering before boarding an Uber. Since May, Uber said it has removed more than 1,250 riders in the US and Canada from the platform because of their failure to comply with its mask mandate.
The San Francisco-based company unveiled a new policy at the beginning of September stipulating that if a driver reports to Uber that a rider wasn’t wearing a mask, the rider will have to take a selfie with one strapped on the next time they summon a driver on the world’s largest ride-hailing service,
The mask verification rules expand upon a similar requirement that Uber imposed on its drivers in May to help reassure passengers worried about being exposed to the novel coronavirus that has upended society.
The full requirement rolls out in the U.S. and Canada on Thursday, before coming to other parts of the world.
"Medical experts agree: wearing a mask can help slow the spread of COVID-19," Uber said in a statement. "That’s why, since May, we have required riders, drivers, and delivery people to wear a mask or face cover when using Uber. Today, we’re building on these efforts with several new features and initiatives to help ensure we are all protecting one another."
The additional safety measures are part of Uber's ongoing efforts to rebuild a service that has seen ridership plunge this year. People have been seeking to minimize the chances of becoming sick and also have had fewer reasons to go anywhere, with offices, bars, restaurants and nightclubs closed through much of the U.S. and other parts of the world.
The adverse conditions caused the number of trips on Uber during its most recent quarter to plunge by 56% from the previous year.