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No mask, no ride: Metro rideshare drivers follow precautions

Uber mask requirement
Posted at 5:00 AM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 08:09:52-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Uber is an app you probably haven't opened for a while.

In fact the company itself even urged people to stay home, releasing an ad in April thanking customers for not riding.

Now, as passengers return to rideshares, they'll notice some changes.

"No mask, no ride" is the official Uber policy. This month the company announced the requirement would be extended indefinitely.

In addition, Uber says it allocated $50 million to purchase supplies like masks, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer for drivers.

The 41 Action News I-Team called three rides to see if safety procedures were being followed.

In all three rides, a message popped up once a driver was assigned to the trip.

"Your driver stated they're wearing a face cover," it read.

When they pulled up, all of the drivers were wearing masks. The men said they've had to turn away riders who weren't wearing them.

"I'm sorry, you can't take chances with the virus," Robert Nighswonger, who has been driving for Uber for a year, said.

Nighswonger took safety a step further, installing a plastic barrier between the front and back seats of his car.

"It's a little extra, yeah. I think customers like it too," he said.

Lyft is taking some of the same precautions as Uber. As of June 10, the company is requiring all riders and drivers to wear masks, frequently sanitize hands and car surfaces and keep the windows open when possible.

Lyft says it has also given out over 80,000 sanitizing products and thousands of face coverings to drivers.

But is there still a risk to riding? Our partners at Newsy asked the experts.

Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases physician at the Mayo Clinic, points out the virus spreads most easily in indoor settings or when you're in close proximity to someone who is infected.

"Being in a car with someone who's infected would kind of fit that criteria," Dr.Rajapakse said, "I know many rideshares are really encouraging drivers and passengers not to use those services if they're feeling ill, and that's definitely something that we would recommend to everyone."

Since the virus can live on surfaces, wiping down seats and handles between rides is another must.

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