Uber has a plan to keep riders safe when they hop into a car.
In a blog post on Thursday, the company said it will use a combination of disinfectant sprays and masks to keep both drivers and riders safe. The company said it started shipping sprays to at least some of its drivers last week. This week, the company started distributing millions of masks to its drivers.
"On Tuesday, we shipped our first order of masks to drivers in New York City, and we are receiving a shipment of nearly half a million more, which we will immediately send to drivers in the hardest hit U.S. cities," Uber announced in a blog post. "We will also be urging riders to wear face coverings, in line with the Centers for Disease Control's latest guidance."
Uber was quick to note its masks are being sourced from outside the medical supply chain and are not N95s. Instead, any N95 masks it comes across will be donated to healthcare workers, who continue to risk their lives amid a shortage of protective equipment.
The move is clearly an attempt by Uber to justify its business and prepare for what may be a difficult period for the company. It's also the least the company can do to help its drivers stay safe.
Riders and drivers have both expressed concerns with driving around with strangers in a vehicle. Last month, a New York City Uber driver died from coronavirus just a couple of weeks after he stopped driving for the service over fears he'd get sick.
To its credit, Uber has tried to respond quickly and aggressively to the crisis, and has even tried to find drivers new positions while they're not driving. But the longer this crisis continues, the more uncertain the future looks for Uber and its drivers.
Having cleaner and more sanitary driving conditions seems like an important first step in helping both riders and drivers feel more protected.