In an effort to protect its drivers and passengers amid the pandemic, Uber reportedly updated its policies regarding face masks. With many people in the United States still choosing note to wear any form of personal protective equipment, the rate of transmission is expected to go up once more.

Ride-sharing services have felt the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, but continue to operate to help those who need transportation. However, the latest changes will now require clients to take a selfie to verify if they have a mask.

While the passenger face mask selfie rule is a fairly new process for the company, it has enforced this similar regulation for its delivery personnel and drivers. According to The Verge, this must be completed before their employees sign in to the app.

Data shared by Uber reveals that its system has already performed approximately 100 million verifications. Furthermore, over 3.5 million of its workers have purportedly followed the directives.

Uber elaborates more on the procedure wherein it will not require the mask verification for all of its customers. If the driver submits a report that a particular rider did not wear a mask, the person in question will be required to go through the selfie process before a vehicle is dispatched to pick them up.

Meanwhile, to encourage two-way cooperation from all parties involved, drivers and passengers are allowed to cancel a trip if the other does not have a mask on without incurring a penalty. The group's global head of safety Sachin Kansai stated in a blog post: "We firmly believe that accountability is a two-way street."

The mask verification system will initially be implemented for Canada and the United States before the end of the month. Latin America and the rest of the countries that Uber operates in will follow thereafter.

Uber CEO
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, seen here in a 2019 picture, said he believes the ride-hailing business will recover from its horrific slump during the pandemic Photo: AFP / Philip Pacheco

For users who are concerned about privacy, the app developers assure that it "does not process biometric information" and will only check if there is an object covering the face the resembles a face mask. A few months ago, the company also changed its guidelines to reduce the number of passengers from four to three for its Uber X service.