SAN FRANCISCO, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Uber on Wednesday introduced an online checking technology for mask verification to keep its users safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
Starting Monday, May 18, before an Uber driver or delivery person can go online, they will be asked to confirm that they've taken certain safety measures and are wearing a mask or face cover via a new Go Online Checklist feature, the U.S. ride-hailing company said, as cities begin to reopen and people start moving again.
The new technology will verify if the driver is wearing a mask by asking them to take a selfie. The company will send an in-app message to the riders after the verification. In the United States, Canada, India, and most of Europe and Latin America, drivers who are not wearing a mask or face cover will not be able to go online.
"We will maintain this policy through the end of June, and then reassess based on local public health needs. We've designed this feature to adapt to changing public health guidance and regulations as the pandemic evolves," Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said.
"We've also built a similar checklist for riders. Before every trip, riders must confirm that they've taken precautions like wearing a face cover and washing or sanitizing their hands," he added.
The riders must also agree to sit in the back seat and open windows for ventilation. When a rider isn't wearing a face cover, Uber drivers may cancel the trip without penalty, the company said.
"Drivers and riders who repeatedly violate mask policies risk losing access to Uber," Khosrowshahi warned, emphasizing that Uber's guidelines "prohibit discrimination against anyone based on their race, national origin or gender."
Uber has allocated 50 million U.S. dollars to purchase PPE supplies and secured more than 23 million masks for drivers and delivery people around the world as of this week, according to the company.