Uber and Lyft drop mask requirement for drivers, riders

Author: Megan Cerullo / CBS News
Uber teens alone
Uber logo behind a windshield. Credit: WINK News

Ride-share companies Uber and Lyft are both dropping face mask rules for drivers and riders after a judge struck down a federal mask mandate on public transportation, including planes and trains, and major airlines, in turn, eliminated their rules.

Uber announced on its website on Tuesday that as of April 19, riders and drivers are no longer required to wear masks in vehicles. Uber added that riders who feel uncomfortable in the presence of unmasked drivers may cancel their trips. The company did not indicate if they would incur a cancellation fee.

Additionally, passengers are now permitted to sit in the vehicle’s front passenger seat if their party requires extra room.

A spokesperson for Uber competitor Lyft also confirmed that masks are now optional while riding or driving with the company.

“We know that everyone has different comfort levels, and anyone who wants to continue wearing a mask is encouraged to do so. As always, drivers or riders can decline to accept or cancel any ride they don’t wish to take,” a spokesperson said.

Despite Uber and Lyft dropping all precautions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends that people who are immune-compromised, are at high risk for severe illness, or live in an area with high COVID-19 transmission rates continue to wear face masks.

Lyft said it changed its policy in reaction to the CDC scrapping the federal mask mandate on public transportation.

“Now that the CDC order mandating masks on transportation is no longer in effect, starting today, we’re updating our policies for riding and driving with Lyft,” the company said in a blog post.

It’s dropping other COVID-19 era precautions too. Riders may also occupy the front seat, and drivers are no longer required to keep their windows open.

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