COVID-19 continues to race across the country and rideshare operators have a responsibility to protect passengers from contracting the virus. It is a significant task as current daily infection rates continue to rise. However, regardless of how daunting it may be, Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare operators are not absolved from liability simply because of the challenges involved.
Steps Rideshare Companies are Taking to Protect Customers
Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing services are encouraging drivers to drive with windows and vents open. This increases airflow in the vehicle and reduces any potential concentration of the virus.
Uber and Lyft are also providing masks to drivers and are encouraging all passengers to wear masks while in the rideshare. Studies have shown that masks can significantly cut transmission risk, however, they do not provide 100% protection. Additionally, drivers are encouraged to install partitions within their vehicles to help reduce the flow of air from the front to the back seats.
Drivers are also encouraged to regularly clean and sanitize their vehicles using alcohol and/or bleach wipes. Contact with cleaning agents and alcohol solutions can disrupt the virus and significantly reduce its ability to infect passengers. Further, drivers who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged not to drive until they have been tested and confirmed negative.
Steps Passengers Can Take to Protect Themselves
COVID-19 is a highly infectious virus. As such, passengers who choose to use ridesharing services at this time must take steps to protect themselves and cannot rely solely on the steps taken by a rideshare operator. In fact, reducing transmission risk requires significant precautions be taken by both the driver and their passengers
Passengers should always wear properly fitting masks while in rideshares, and should wash and use sanitizer on their hands after exiting the rideshare. Further, passengers should decline rides in vehicles that are not clean, or in vehicles where the driver is not wearing a mask.
Passengers should sit in the back of the vehicle and should not sit in the passenger seat beside the driver. When paying, it is best to use contactless payments as this reduces the rate of transmission via currency.
It is also important that passengers not share a rideshare with other passengers who do not live in their residence. This helps stop the spread of the virus and could help flatten the growth curve which is wildly out of control at the moment.