Uber, Lyft to Require Drivers and Passengers to Wear Masks

It has been announced that both Uber and Lyft are going to start requiring drivers and passengers to wear masks during rides. According to CNN, Uber will now require drivers to upload a selfie showing that they are wearing a mask, and to confirm that they do not have coronavirus symptoms before they are allowed to drive. The company will also be expecting drivers to regularly sanitize their cars. Lyft is reportedly also implementing similar requirements.

Riders will also be expected to wear masks, but they will simply be required to confirm that they they are, as no selfie-upload option is available on the passenger app. Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi says that passengers and drivers will need to keep one another accountable. "Things are going to look a little different for both riders and drivers," Khosrowshahi stated in a telephone press conference. Sachin Kansal, Uber's head of safety products, added that the company is doing a lot to make sure everyone is safe. "We have put in several checks and balances because this is something that is really shared accountability," Kansal said. "If the driver approaches and the rider sees the driver is not wearing a mask, they can cancel the trip. They don't have to get in the car."

Notably, Uber also recently announced that, due to the pandemic, it would be laying off around 3,700 employees. The company cited "lower trip volumes in its Rides segment" and a "current hiring freeze" as the main reasons for the downsizing, per an SEC filing. "On May 6, 2020, Uber Technologies, Inc. (the “Company”) announced plans to reduce its operating expenses in response to the economic challenges and uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the Company’s business," Uber wrote in the filing. "The Company is reducing its customer support and recruiting teams by approximately 3,700 full-time employee roles. In connection with these actions, the Company estimates that it will incur approximately $20 million related to severance and other termination benefits. The Company is evaluating other cost and will provide an update in subsequent SEC disclosures regarding such amounts, if material."

The filing also detailed that Khosrowshahi has "agreed to waive his base salary for the remainder of the year ending December 31, 2020." The CEO made this choice "after consultation with the Board of Directors." Finally, the filing explained, "In connection with this decision, Mr. Khosrowshahi and the Company entered into a letter agreement, effective as of May 2, 2020."