ATLANTA — Starting Monday, all Uber riders, drivers and delivery people will be required to wear a face mask.
The company announced Sunday that they are also rolling out a new user experience on the app to help keep drivers and riders safe.
"It’s important to us that you know what to expect when you take that 'second first trip,'"officials said in a statement. "Over the last two months, our tech and safety teams have been hard at work building a new product experience that will help protect everyone, every time they use Uber."
Here are some of the big changes:
The app will now require drivers and delivery drivers to take a selfie wearing a mask before they can start accepting trips. Recognition technology will confirm if the driver is following protocol.
"Our new technology will verify that the driver is wearing a mask or face covering and let the rider know when the driver is en route," officials said.
Drivers who don't wear masks will no longer be able to pick up passengers after May 18.
Riders will also have to confirm that they’ve taken precautions like wearing a mask and washing their hands within the app. They must agree to sit in the back seat and open windows for ventilation. Uber is also reducing the suggested number of passengers from 4 to 3.
The company has allocated $50 million to purchase supplies like masks, disinfectant sprays and wipes, hand sanitizer, and gloves. Supplies were mailed to drivers directly.
Uber is also adding new feedback options to riders.
"Drivers and riders are being encouraged to cancel trips if they don’t feel safe, including if a user is not wearing a mask or face cover," officials said. "In addition, riders, drivers, and delivery people who repeatedly violate the policy risk losing access to the app."
Channel 2′s Michael Seiden talked to professional driver Robert Bovell, who said he never leaves his home now without his mask. Bovell drives for both Uber and Lyft, and said he’s always armed with the essentials before he picks up his passengers.
Bovell said the problem is that his riders have put him at risk for contracting the virus.
“I wear my mask, but the majority of passengers who get in don’t wear one,” Bovell said. “'We out here for ourselves and we out here for you, and you can at least show some appreciation.”
Bovell is happy to see the new protocols in place because he has to make a living.
“Staying home is not an option, so I gotta come out here and be cautious,” Bovell said.
The company said the changes will stay in place through the end of June.
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