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Uber will suspend riders and drivers exposed to coronavirus

Updated Mar 11th, 2020 4:29PM EDT
Uber coronavirus response
Image: Olly Curtis/Future/Shutterstock

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  • Uber announced that it will temporarily suspend accounts of riders and drivers who have been infected with COVID-19 or are at risk of being infected.
  • Uber will provide financial assistance to drivers and delivery people who are asked to self-isolate.
  • You can visit Uber’s coronavirus hub on its website to learn more.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

As the infection rates of COVID-19 spike around the globe, private businesses are starting to take the outbreak more seriously. For example, on Wednesday morning, Uber updated its website and sent emails to users in order to inform them about the measures it is taking to keep people safe. Those measures include the temporary suspension of “the accounts of riders or drivers confirmed to have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19.”

This may sound drastic, but think about just how quickly an infected driver could spark an outbreak. Being locked up in a tight space for an extended period of time with someone who has contracted COVID-19 and then jumping out of the car to head into a crowded restaurant or bar sounds like possibly the most effective way to spread the virus, and so it’s no surprise that Uber is doing what it can to be part of the solution rather than the problem.

Of course, suspending a driver’s account could be catastrophic to someone who depends on that money to pay their bills or provide for themselves or their family, and so Uber is providing assistance to those affected:

Any driver or delivery person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 or is individually asked to self-isolate by a public health authority will receive financial assistance for up to 14 days while their account is on hold. We’ve already helped drivers in some affected areas, and we’re working to quickly implement this worldwide.

On top of the suspensions, Uber is also working to ensure that drivers and riders are as safe as can be. Uber does admit that supplies are particularly limited at the moment, the company is providing drivers with disinfectants to help them keep their vehicles clean. The distribution of cleaning supplies is being prioritized in cities that need it the most. Uber also says that anyone who prefers not to come into contact with an Uber Eats delivery person can leave a note in the app telling them to leave the food at the door instead of calling or ring the doorbell.

Reuters reports that Uber suspended 240 accounts in Mexico last month of people who might have come in contact with someone infected with COVID-19. These numbers will rise worldwide in the coming weeks.

If you want to know more about Uber’s response to the viral outbreak, be sure to visit the company’s all-new page dedicated to information about the virus. It runs through both the steps that the company is taking to keep everyone safe and the important notes for drivers who want to stay up-to-date on the rules.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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