Uber is to start requiring some passengers to provide a selfie to prove they are wearing a face mask before boarding.
The policy will apply to those who have previously been reported by drivers for not wearing one, with coverings having been mandatory for Uber customers and employees since May.
A selfie scanner will be rolled out via an update to the app, which will detect whether or not a face covering is being correctly worn over the mouth and nose.
Uber has said that facial recognition technology will not be used and all selfies will be stored for 96 hours – to settle potential disputes – before being permanently deleted.
The new requirement will be introduced in the US and Canada by the end of September, before being implemented in other regions around the world.
The San Francisco-based company currently requires drivers to submit a selfie of themselves wearing a mask before starting work. If they are not wearing one, they are blocked from using the app to pick up passengers.
Drivers and riders will be able to cancel trips without any charge if a mask is not being worn by the other party – and failure to comply can lead to account deactivation.
Uber initially introduced a “No Mask No Ride” policy on 18 May in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
This policy has been extended indefinitely, requiring both passengers and drivers – including those who deliver food for Uber Eats – to wear a face covering for the entire duration of their ride.
The latest safety measure is being introduced after COVID-19 led to Uber seeing a 56% decrease in the number of trips being made.
Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted: “Accountability is a two-way street. That’s why we’re expanding mask verification to riders, in addition to drivers. We’re all in this together, so let’s help protect one another.”
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