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Uber is cracking down on passengers who don’t wear face masks

September 1, 2020, 2:00 PM UTC

Uber is reinforcing rules for passengers who don’t wear face masks—a practice the company implemented for both drivers and passengers in May in light of the coronavirus.

If a driver reports that a passenger did not wear a face mask during a ride, the Uber app will require that passenger to send a selfie showing them in a mask before taking another ride. The mask verification feature will roll out to the U.S. and Canada by the end of September. Uber expects to later expand the feature to Latin America and other countries.

The news comes as Uber tries to bring riders back to its service at a time when people are staying home and avoiding close contact with others to prevent contracting the coronavirus. Meanwhile, some rides in cities across the nation have turned hostile, as passengers of ride-hailing services have become verbally and, in some cases, physically aggressive after being asked to wear a mask. 

Uber said about 99.5% of trips have had no reported mask issue, and that the new selfie-verification feature is “focused on the small percentage of riders who do not follow the policy.”  

Since May, Uber drivers have been required to verify that they are wearing masks through the selfie feature on the app before going online. Since then, more than 3.5 million drivers on Uber and Uber Eats have completed more than 100 million selfie verifications, according to Uber.

“We firmly believe that accountability is a two-way street,” said an Uber blog post published Tuesday. “With the addition of this new feature, one driver’s feedback can help ensure the safety of Uber for the next driver.”