Uber details new COVID-19 rules: What riders need to know

Days after competitor Lyft made a similar announcement, ride-hailing company Uber has detailed the requirements it is about to implement for riders, ones that will remain in effect during the coronavirus pandemic. The rules are designed to help protect both drivers and riders from potentially contracting the virus during a ride, the numbers of which are expected to increase in the coming weeks as more cities start to loosen their lockdown restrictions.

As part of its announcement today, Uber has introduced the feature that first leaked earlier this month: driver face mask verification. The new Go Online Checklist rolled out for drivers verifies that they are wearing a face mask by asking them to take a selfie while wearing one.

Drivers in multiple countries, including the US and Canada, will need to verify they have a face mask on before they can drive starting on May 18. Riders will be given a similar checklist that they must use to verify that they are taking appropriate precautions before they can order a ride.

Uber expects riders to wear a face mask and to also sanitize their hands before catching the ride — in fact, Uber says that it is actively encouraging its drivers to cancel rides if the rider isn't wearing a face mask or otherwise makes them feel unsafe; they can do this without penalty. Uber warns that if a driver is reported for not wearing a face mask multiple times, they may lose the ability to keep driving on Uber's network.

Likewise, riders are also given the option of canceling a ride without penalty if the driver isn't wearing a face mask when they arrive. Riders are expected to sit in the backseat of the vehicle in order to reduce their proximity to the driver and UberX rides are now capped to a limit of three passengers total.