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Uber introduces enhanced Covid-19 safety precautions in the UAE

Uber introduces enhanced Covid-19 safety precautions in the UAE

The new measures will be in place until the end of June after which it will be reviewed

Uber drivers in the UAE will be required to verify that they are wearing a mask before accepting a ride, the company said in a statement on Sunday.

Drivers will be asked to confirm that they are adhering to the guidelines as part of a new in-app safety checklist.

If they are not wearing a mask or face covering, they will not be able to go online.

Additionally, they will also need to confirm that they have taken additional safety measures such as sanitising their car and making hand sanitisers available for their riders.

Steps have been taken to protect the health of drivers too.

In countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where face coverings are mandatory, drivers can cancel the ride if a rider isn’t wearing a mask without incurring a penalty.

Riders too will be asked whether they have taken necessary safety precautions like washing their hands before getting into the car, sitting in the backseat and opening windows for ventilation.

In the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, and Lebanon, only two riders per car are allowed in line with government regulations.

Riders will also be able to cancel rides without incurring penalties if the driver isn’t wearing a mask in countries where doing so is mandatory.

A new feedback option in the app flags whether a rider or driver is not wearing a mask. Anyone who is repeatedly flagged for violating the new safety policies risks losing access to Uber’s apps.

Also, financial assistance for up to 14 days will be offered to any driver who is diagnosed with Covid-19 or is individually asked to self-isolate by a public health authority while their account is on hold.

The new measures will be in place until the end of June after which it will be reviewed.

The company said that globally it is investing $50m to help ensure every driver and courier has access to personal protective equipment, cleaning and sanitising supplies they need to work safely.

Therefore, the company has provided masks to drivers across the MENA region and reimbursed eligible drivers and couriers for the purchase of a sanitiser or disinfectant product of their choice, with a pre-determined ceiling limit.

So far, Uber has provided or reimbursed over 8,000 hand sanitisers, cleaning sprays and disinfectant wipes to drivers and couriers in the MENA region.

It has also partnered with Unilever to distribute hygiene kits to drivers and couriers across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

“Now, as cities begin to reopen, we want to ensure that both riders and drivers recognise that they have a shared responsibility to make travel safer, and enough flexibility to manage this, while prioritising health and safety,” said Abdellatif Waked, director and general manager at Uber MENA.

In May, Uber launched UberMedics in the UAE though which it is providing healthcare workers with discounted trips to and from their workplaces in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Read: Uber launches UberMedics to support healthcare workers in the UAE

Last week, Mudassir Sheikha the CEO of Uber’s Middle East unit, Careem, ruled out further job cuts after reducing staff by 31 per cent in May and added in an interview with Bloomberg that although business is still down 50-60 per cent from last year, it has recovered from a slump of more than 80 per cent in March and April.

Read: Uber’s Middle East unit Careem sees recovery after 80% slump

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