Mandatory face coverings for riders and drivers

September 29 / United Kingdom

As of 23 September 2020, face coverings are legally required for users in England, Scotland and Wales (subject to exemptions).

To help protect the health and safety of everyone, face coverings or masks are mandatory for anyone riding or driving with Uber. This is subject to the exemption set out below.

If you are riding with Uber and your driver arrives without a face covering, you can cancel your ride. Similarly, if you are driving with Uber and a rider is not wearing a face covering, you have the right to cancel the ride. Anyone who is required to wear a face covering and repeatedly fails to do so will permanently lose their access to the Uber platform.

Where to get face coverings

When wearing a face covering or mask, make sure it covers your face from the bridge of your nose down to your chin. You can learn more about face coverings, including how to make one at home, on this UK Government advice page.

If you are driving with Uber, for more information on how to claim free PPE and PPE reimbursement, visit this page.

Exemptions from face coverings

If a user is required by law to wear a face covering while on trip, they must do so. If a user is exempt from the legal requirement, they are exempt from Uber’s requirement to wear a face covering. This exemption is generally where  it is not appropriate to wear one due to mitigating circumstances such as their age, medical condition and/or disability. This may include:

  • a child who is under the age of 11 (although any accompanying adult should wear one if it is appropriate for them to do so)*;
  • anyone whose circumstances mean they cannot put on, wear, or remove a face covering (e.g. because of any impairment or disability, or that doing so would cause them severe distress); or
  • anyone travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.

Please note, a condition may be non-visible, such as a mental health or respiratory condition.

* age may differ based on your location, please see ‘More information’ below. For example, in Scotland only children five years or younger are exempt in line with Government guidance.

What to do if you are exempt

If a rider or driver is exempt from this requirement, they should explain before pick up via the app and/or at pick up that they are exempt based on Government guidance.

This UK Government website contains cards and badges (digital and to print) to show that you are exempt from wearing a face covering. Transport for London has also developed face covering exemption badges, which are available to order online or by phone, to show that a user is exempt. If you are exempt, you may wish to use these to show your rider or driver at the start of your trip.

If you have any doubts or concerns about wearing a face covering or mask, we recommend that you seek the advice of your doctor.

If you are exempt from wearing a face covering, please contact Uber support.

Riders can do this via the online help centre page or via the app through Help>More>Face Covering Exemption.

Drivers can do this via the online help centre page or via the driver app – Help>Safety and security>Face Covering Exemption.

Please note – It is up to each rider or driver to determine whether or not they are exempt from any legal requirement to wear a face covering. If in any doubt, please seek medical and/or legal advice as appropriate. 

More information

The Department for Transport’s guidance for the use of face coverings on public transport in England, such as trains and buses, can be found here.

Transport for London’s guidance on the use of face coverings in private hire vehicles in London can be found here.

The Scottish Government’s guidance for the use of face coverings in private hire vehicles in Scotland can be found here.

The Welsh Government’s guidance on use of face coverings in Wales can be found here.

The Northern Ireland Executive’s guidance on use of face coverings in Northern Ireland can be found here.

The Republic of Ireland Government’s guidance on use of face coverings in the Republic of Ireland can be found here.

‘Sit in the back’ policy exemption

Sit in the back rider policy

To help keep as much distance between riders and drivers, riders are no longer permitted to sit in the front seat when on a trip using the Uber platform.

New vehicle capacity

Because the front seat is now out of bounds, this means that all vehicle capacity is reduced by one passenger. For example, an Uber X can now carry 3 passengers instead of 4, and an Uber XL can carry up to 5.

What to do if a rider gets in the front seat

If a rider tries to get in the front seat or the number of passengers exceeds the new limit of the vehicle, the driver should politely explain the new back seat policy and advise the riders to either re-book an Uber XL or to request an additional vehicle for the extra passengers. Riders have been informed about this policy by email.

Drivers can keep their vehicle’s front doors locked to help enforce this rule.

Cancellation

If you are riding with Uber, and your driver will not let you use the backseat, you can cancel your ride. Similarly, if you are driving with Uber, and your rider will not use the backseat only, you have the right to cancel the ride.

Exemptions

Not every rider may be able to use the backseat of a vehicle. This requirement does not apply to individuals who are unable to use the backseat due to their medical condition and/or disability.

If a rider is exempt, they should explain this to the driver before pick up via the app (or, otherwise, at pick up). A rider does not need to explain why they are exempt (e.g. details of their condition), just that they are.

Please note, a condition may be non-visible, such as a mental health condition.

Please do not travel if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or should be in quarantine or self-isolation

If you are feeling sick, the most important thing you can do right now is to stay home, if possible, to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

If any relevant official guidance or requirement means you should be in quarantine or self-isolating for any reason, you should not take any trips on the Uber platform. For example, if you have been instructed by a Public Health official to self-isolate. 

Taking trips on the Uber platform in breach of Government guidance or a legal requirement to self isolate or quarantine could lead to you permanently losing your access to the Uber platform.

You can find more guidance from the UK Government here.