Uber, Lyft end mask requirements for riders and drivers

Coronavirus

(NewsNation) — Ride-share giants Uber and Lyft scrapped their mandatory face masks requirement for riders and drivers in the United States Tuesday.

“The CDC still recommends wearing a mask if you have certain personal risk factors and/or high transmission levels in your area,” Uber said online. “Remember: many people still feel safer wearing a mask because of personal or family health situations, so please be respectful of their preferences. And if you ever feel uncomfortable, you can always cancel the trip.”

The change goes into effect Tuesday. Both companies also updated their no-front-seat policy, which previously did not allow riders to sit in the passenger seat due to coronavirus restrictions. Riders can now sit in the passenger seat, however only if the amount of people in the ride warrants it.

Uber previously said in November it was resuming shared rides, which had been suspended due to the pandemic.

The announcement comes one day after a federal judge in Florida struck down the travel mask mandate for airlines and other public transportation as exceeding the authority of U.S. health officials in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently extended the mask mandate to May 3. It was set to expire Monday. The agency pushed to allow more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of the virus.

In the immediate hours after the ruling, airlines were not sure how to respond and continued enforcing the rule. But by Monday evening, America’s four biggest airlines — United, American, Delta and Southwest — all announced masks would no longer be required on their flights. Frontier, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines are also joining by making masks optional, but not all airlines have chimed in yet.

COVID-19 cases have dropped sharply in the United States since hitting record levels amid the rise of the omicron variant in January, according to data from the CDC.

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