Making Uber sure that you wear your mask
In South Africa, like most of the world currently, wearing a mask in public is compulsory and has become an essential part of life and of our routines when even contemplating the house. Masks have proven to be effective in reducing and slowing the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring that both the exposure to and the emission of bodily fluids or moisture droplets inadvertently and unavoidably emitted by the body while doing everyday things such as talking or sneezing is drastically reduced. By limiting our exposure to the virus as much as possible by wearing a mask, sanitising and practicing social distancing – the chances of contracting the virus are significantly reduced.
According to a study done by the New York Times, “scientists [have] agreed that the coronavirus jumps from person to person most often by hitching a ride inside tiny respiratory droplets. These droplets tend to fall to the ground within a few feet of the person who emits them. They may land on surfaces like doorknobs, where people can touch lingering virus particles and transfer them to their face. But some droplets can remain aloft, and be inhaled by others.” Given your mask’s proximity to your face, it is recommended that you wash or sanitise your hands before applying your masks, as well as after removing it. It is also essential that you wash your masks regularly if it is a reusable mask.
Given South Africa’s current lockdown level one status, businesses have learned to adjust as well as ensure that their clientele and customers are also adhering to the rules and regulations stipulated by the government in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. Uber has taken this to a whole new level and has put new measures in place to ensure that both their drivers, as well as their customers follow the rules. At the onset of the pandemic, and after Uber was cleared to operate, the e-hailing service implemented multiple protocols in order to ensure that its drivers, customers and cars were safe – one of these involve Uber drivers having to take selfies of themselves to prove that they are wearing masks and that their noses and mouths are adequately covered. As of the beginning of October, South African Uber Riders are going to be held to the same standard, as drivers will now be able to report their riders for not wearing adequate “face protection.” If the rider refuses to comply, then they won’t be able to complete the trip.
As a local Uber Spokesperson explained, the company believes “that accountability is a two-way street. That’s why the same technology has now been expanded to riders, too. If a driver reports to Uber that a rider wasn’t wearing a mask, the rider will be required to take a selfie with their face covered before they’re able to take another trip with Uber. With the addition of this new feature, one driver’s feedback can help ensure the safety of Uber for the next driver.” It’s fair to say though, that accountability is not just something applied in an Uber ride, it’s a responsibility that everyone holds during this pandemic as everyone has a part to play in making sure that we slow the spread as much as possible by wearing a mask, sanitising and practicing social distancing wherever possible.