Uber’s New COVID Safety Announcement: Mask Verifications & More

For a few months now, drivers on the Uber platform have been required to take a selfie to prove they are wearing the required mask. Now, passengers are going to be asked to do the same.

There is a catch, however: the passengers are only going to be required to if they have been reported by a driver as not wearing a mask. A blog post from Uber states, “If a driver reports to us that a rider wasn’t wearing a mask, the rider will be required to take a selfie with their face covered before they’re able to take another trip with Uber.”

Uber’s New Safety Announcement: Mask Verifications

Drivers must be responsible for reporting their passengers who are not following the rules. Many drivers choose the option of refusing to pick up a passenger if they are not wearing a mask (which is allowed without repercussion).

No matter if the driver accepts the passenger or not, they must report that the passenger is not wearing a mask in order for the passenger to be prompted to wear one before their next ride.

This feature is set to roll out in the U.S. and Canada by the end of September, and elsewhere around everywhere where Uber operates after that.

The announcement on Uber’s site made specific mention that the verification tool they use does not collect biometric information, but instead just looks for an object (the mask) for the verification purposes.

As a continuation of what Uber is doing for both drivers and passengers during the coronavirus pandemic, they will still provide masks for free. This will continue for at least the remainder of 2020 and will continue to be a free service.

Drivers can order these free masks and other supplies through their driver app. Distribution varies by region, but in the U.S. and Canada, drivers have the option of having the items shipped to their home or pick up at a greenlight hub.

Uber’s Wash, Wear, Air Campaign

Throughout the pandemic, Uber has also partnered with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the World Health Organization to develop safety tips specific to ridesharing. Based on the advice given by these organizations, Uber recommends the following for every trip:

Wash: Wash or sanitize your hands before you ride

Wear: Wear a face cover or mask

Air: Sit in the back seat and roll down your window for airflow

These are relatively simple things that passengers should be doing for every ride. However, on Reddit, some passengers have stated that their drivers do not have the window rolled down or that the driver seemed inconvenienced or annoyed by it.

Some reasons mentioned for closing the windows is because of the added noise on a highway, hot or rainy weather or even a driver’s ear hurting from the pressure/noise. Many posters say they simply leave it up to the passenger to decide and leave them in control of the windows.

Our Thoughts

Okay, so I have wondered for a long time why drivers are required to submit a masked selfie, but passengers don’t have the same accountability. This is a step in the right direction, but I truly feel like Uber should be requiring it of all passengers all the time, just like their drivers.

It shouldn’t be up to the driver to report it—some fear getting a low rating for rating their passengers poorly, and will therefore refuse to ding a passenger for not following the rules.

If it’s required for everyone to wear a mask, I feel like all parties should be treated the same. Make passengers take a selfie if that’s what you make your drivers do. If they think it’s too inconvenient, they are probably the ones not following the rules in the first place.

I think it’s great that Uber is providing free masks for drivers. I had some sent to me via the mail so I’ll be ready if/when I start driving again, and after checking my app this morning, I am eligible to pick up hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray at my local Greenlight Hub. I appreciate that these are available for free.

Wondering which masks are the best? Check out our review of masks for Uber and Lyft drivers here, or take a look at our video below: The Best Masks For Lyft & Uber Drivers: Our In Depth Review


You can read the full announcement from Uber here.

What do you think about this announcement from Uber?

-Paula @ RSG