BY CAILEY RIZZO UPDATED MARCH 18, 2020
As cases of coronavirus continue to grow around the U.S., rideshare companies are taking strict actions to avoid spreading the virus — including potentially suspending the accounts of those infected.
In an email sent to users and in an alert on their site, Uber announced it “may temporarily suspend the accounts of riders or drivers confirmed to have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19,” although the company did not detail the ways they would check users’ health status.
Lyft released a similar safety alert, saying that if they’re “notified of a driver (or rider) testing positive for COVID-19, they will be temporarily suspended from using Lyft until they are medically cleared.”
In the event a driver or passenger has contracted the illness, both companies say they will work with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and public health authorities to identify other individuals who may have come in contact with the virus.
Both Uber and Lyft have suspended their “pool” options which allowed passengers heading in the same direction to carpool for a discounted ride. The option no longer appears in both apps.
The two also provide the CDC guidelines to avoid non-essential travel.
Although drivers typically only get paid for the hours they’re on the road, the companies are offering their drivers paid sick leave during the coronavirus outbreak.
Uber drivers are eligible for up to 14 days of “financial assistance” if they are required to self-isolate during the outbreak. Drivers’ accounts will be put on hold if they are required to quarantine, but they will retain any status (such as Uber Pro) they have worked towards.
“We’ve already helped drivers in some affected areas, and we’re working to quickly implement this worldwide,” Uber said.
Both companies are working to keep drivers prepared with disinfectant for themselves and their vehicles. Drivers in cities “with the greatest need” are being prioritized.
Washington state, northern California and New York have the most amount of coronavirus cases throughout the United. States.
For Uber EATS, customers who are required to self-quarantine or prefer to stay inside can send a note to drivers to have them leave food deliveries on their doorstep instead of bringing them inside.
For more information on travel during the coronavirus outbreak, check out Travel + Leisure’s guide to everything you need to know.