Pursuant to California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) Resolution TL-19131 effective August 17, 2020, Uber Technologies, Inc. (“Uber”) has created this COVID-19 Response Plan for its California rides operations.
On September 9, 2020, all drivers in California will need to review and acknowledge receipt of Uber’s “California COVID-19 Training” document detailing the guidance and recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Drivers will also be instructed to comply with all applicable local regulations related to COVID-19.
Before a driver can go online, they will be asked to confirm, via a “Go Online Checklist,” that they’ve taken certain safety measures. Our “California Covid-19 Training” also includes a list of health checks, including a temperature check, drivers are asked to complete prior to driving. Drivers may not take trips without completing the self-screening and certification.
We also know that getting access to healthcare advice has been a challenge for many people, including those who earn with Uber. We partnered with Ro (https://www.ro.co) — a patient-driven telehealth company — to share their free coronavirus telehealth assessment. Ro’s service enables drivers to take a free COVID-19 telehealth risk assessment based on their symptoms, travel history, and recent interactions. Following the assessment, if appropriate, drivers will get a free virtual medical consultation with a healthcare provider (see https://www.uber.com/blog/telehealth/).
Drivers are required to wear face covers during Uber trips. In addition to the “Go Online Checklist,” we ask drivers to take a photo of themselves before they begin driving, and our technology helps verify that they are wearing a face cover. While the driver is enroute to the pick up location, the rider receives an in-app message confirming their driver completed the verification of wearing a face cover.
Additionally, riders must wear a face cover when using Uber. We created a campaign, “No Mask. No Ride” to help deliver this message. Video available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&uclick_id=2061075a-bde1-4914-acf8-19862e538a58&v=ih1zuU269og. In addition to emails detailing the new face cover policy and tips on how to make their own face cover, we also provided riders with a pre-trip list of actions that will remind them that a face cover or mask is required on all Uber trips. Beginning on or before September 30, 2020, if a rider has been reported for an alleged violation of the face cover policy in the past, they may be required to verify they are wearing a face cover via our technology before their next trip.
We’ve also created a video with tips sourced by the CDC to help riders and drivers learn how to properly wear a face cover or mask. Video available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=14&v=C5ZZkSTdbRs&feature=emb_title.
We sent an in-app message to drivers reminding them of basic steps they can take to help prevent the spread of the virus. The message draws on advice from public health authorities and was developed in consultation with an epidemiologist formerly with the CDC in the United States. Some of the basic tips include the following:
- If you feel sick, stay home. If you have mild illness, respiratory symptoms, or have a fever (38 C/100.4 F or above), stay home and away from others. If your symptoms get worse, call your doctor.
- Wash your hands frequently. Wash your hands with liquid soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to disinfect your hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash, and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue within easy reach, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your vehicle.
- Roll down windows while driving others to improve ventilation.
- Ask riders to sit in the backseat in order to give drivers more space.
A copy of the message is available at https://help.uber.com/driving-and-delivering/article/coronavirus-health-and-safety-guidance?nodeId=17f69f1b-0727-44a5-a5d6-ec0047036b34. This information is also available at https://www.uber.com/us/en/coronavirus/. We have additionally provided preventative actions in our “California Covid-19 Driver Training.”
Uber is providing health and safety supplies to help support drivers using the app. We have shared ridesharing-specific disinfecting tips to help drivers learn how to best disinfect their vehicles. Drivers are encouraged to clean high touch areas as frequently as possible, and at a minimum, the CDC recommends cleaning the vehicle at the beginning and end of the day. The disinfecting tips are also available here: https://www.uber.com/newsroom/our-commitment-to-clean/. We also encourage riders to disinfect the vehicle at the beginning of their trip, especially the most frequently touched areas in the back seat of the car.
We provide further detailed cleaning and vehicle disinfection recommendations in our “California Covid-19 Driver Training” document.
- Avoid contact with surfaces frequently touched by passengers - such as door frame/handles, windows, and seatbelt buckles - before cleaning.
- Obtain and carry disposal trash bags with you in your vehicle.
- At a minimum, clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces in the vehicle when you go online or offline and between transporting passengers who are visibly sick.
- For hard non-porous surfaces within the interior of the vehicle such as tablets or touch screens, hard seats, arm rests, door handles, seat belt buckles, light and air controls, doors and windows, and grab handles, clean with detergent or soap and water if the surfaces are visibly dirty, prior to disinfectant application. For disinfection of hard, non-porous surfaces, per the CDC and CDPH appropriate disinfectants include:
- EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for concentration, application method, and contact time for all cleaning and disinfection products.
- Diluted household bleach solutions prepared according to the manufacturer’s label for disinfection, if appropriate for the surface.
- Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.
- For soft or porous surfaces such as fabric seats, remove any visible contamination, if present, and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning, use products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 and that are suitable for porous surfaces.
- Follow the directions on the cleaning product’s label.
- Doors and windows should remain open when cleaning the vehicle. Follow the asthma-safer cleaning methods recommended by the California Department of Public Health and ensure there is sufficient ventilation.
- When cleaning and disinfecting, individuals should wear disposable gloves compatible with the products being used as well as any other PPE required according to the product manufacturer’s instructions.
- Gloves and any other disposable PPE used for cleaning and disinfecting the vehicle should be removed and disposed of after cleaning; wash hands immediately after removal of gloves and PPE.
- Use of a disposable gown is also recommended, if available.
- If a disposable gown was not worn, clothes worn during cleaning and disinfecting should be laundered afterwards using the warmest appropriate water setting. Dry items completely. Wash hands after handling laundry.
We are reminding everyone who uses Uber to follow guidance from public health authorities (“PHA”). Specifically, we have asked anyone who uses Uber to do the following: if they are sick, stay home and away from others; wash their hands frequently; and cover their cough or sneeze. In our notifications to riders and drivers, we have linked the World Health Organization website to provide more information. These notifications are available at https://www.uber.com/us/en/coronavirus/.
In our “California Covid-19 Driver Training,” we outline tips for interacting with riders during trips including:
- Remind riders to sit in the back seat to maximize distance between the passenger and yourself.
- Do not offer items like mints, phone chargers, or magazines that are often provided as a passenger service.
- Avoid close contact with passengers, when possible.
- Consider asking passengers to handle their own personal bags and belongings during pick-up and drop-off, if possible. If providing such services, request that the passengers maintain a minimum of six feet distance. After touching passenger belongings, use hand sanitizer.
- When assisting passengers using a wheelchair or other mobility device, or who require operator assistance, sanitize your hands before and after the interaction.
- Immediately report any passengers intentionally spreading their germs in the car interior to the authorities, as appropriate. If you feel uncomfortable with providing transport to a visibly sick passenger for safety reasons, you can cancel the trip. However, discrimination against passengers on the basis of race, national origin, or other reasons, as described in Uber’s Community Guidlines, is not allowed.
As has always been the case, if a driver feels uncomfortable picking up a rider for safety reasons, they can choose not to accept or cancel the trip. If a driver arrives to pick up a rider and they are not wearing a face cover or mask, the driver can cancel the trip and leave feedback for the rider or report the issue to Uber through the app after a trip. Uber will take action based on drivers’ feedback, and riders who are reported repeatedly for not complying with this policy may risk losing access to the platform. However, it is against Uber’s Community Guidelines to discriminate against anyone based on their race or national origin. This policy was communicated to drivers globally via an in-app message in February (see https://help.uber.com/driving-and-delivering/article/coronavirus-health-and-safety-guidance?nodeId=17f69f1b-0727-44a5-a5d6-ec0047036b34) and again in March in an email from our CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. This message is also available on our website at: https://www.uber.com/newsroom/your-second-first-trip/.
We have been working to provide drivers and delivery people with health and safety supplies like masks and disinfectants. We’ve allocated $50 million globally to purchase supplies like masks, disinfectant sprays and wipes, hand sanitizer, and gloves. So far, we have distributed more than 11 million masks and 400,000 units of other health and safety supplies to drivers and delivery people in the United States and Canada. Many of these items were shipped directly to drivers’ homes.