uber coronavirus

Uber and Lyft are taking new steps to deal with risk of coronavirus

Being in a customer-facing job is particularly stressful right now given the growing worldwide pandemic that is COVID-19.

As office employees disinfect their workspaces or work from home and school campuses consider shutting down to prevent staff and students from getting sick, those who are in roles that necessitate close-quarters interaction with many members of the public each day — such as Uber and Lyft drivers — may find themselves feeling uneasy.

The world's most popular rideshare apps have recognized this, and have stepped their game up a bit to help avoid community spread through their networks.

Both Uber and Lyft have issued official statements on their respective websites saying that they are working with public health officials to closely monitor the 2019 novel coronavirus situation.

New measures taken by both companies include the distribution of hundreds of bottles of hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies to their drivers free of charge, as well as temporarily suspending the accounts of any driver, rider or delivery person who is diagnosed with the communicable disease or has been exposed to someone who was.

The apps have even vowed to financially support drivers who need to self-quarantine for the requisite 14 days due to illness. (Companies like Walmart have recently done the same.) And, Uber has added an option for users to ask that food be left at their door so they do not have to directly interact with a delivery partner.

The two companies have also done their due diligence to provide key facts about COVID-19 and links to credible sources for users to keep up-to-date on new information, and have added banners to the tops of their homepages directing people to these resources.

"We’re reminding everyone who uses Uber to follow advice from public health authorities," the company's page on coronavirus reads. "If you’re sick, stay home and away from others. Wash your hands frequently, and cover your cough or sneeze."

While major conferences and concerts slated to come to Toronto have been cancelled over coronavirus fears, the city's sports teams are preparing to play in empty arenas and the federal government is issuing guidelines on how to determine if a mass gathering should be cancelled over COVID-19, further action may be taken by rideshare apps as the pandemic worsens.

(The drive-thru coronavirus testing that we may be getting would prove particular helpful in this situation.)

So far, there have been more than 120,000 cases in at least 114 countries and upwards of 4,200 deaths from the communicable disease globally.

Some scientists have projected that more than half of Canadians may end up contracting COVID-19 — only 97 already have — but most patients' cases have been very mild, with more than half of them worldwide already recovered.

Lead photo by

Dan Gold/Pixabay

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