Uber drops COVID-19 mask mandate for drivers, passengers

Rideshare company Uber has followed the lead of airlines and has dropped its mask mandate effective today.

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Uber is leaving it up to customers and drivers to decide whether or not they want to wear a mask and is telling customers “if you ever feel uncomfortable, you can always cancel the trip,” NBC News reported.

Uber had required drivers and riders to wear a mask while using the service since May 18, 2020, Fox Business reported.

Uber also has updated the “no front seat” policy that had customers required to sit in a vehicle’s back seat. Now a passenger can ride next to the driver but suggests it should only happen if the size of the party necessitates it.

The move came hours after a federal judge in Florida struck down President Joe Biden’s administration’s mask mandates for planes, trains, buses and other forms of public transportation.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled that the policy was “unlawful” and that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not have the legal authority to impose the mask mandate, NBC News reported.

>>Previous coverage: Federal judge voids national mask mandate for travelers

Mizelle said that the CDC did not justify the decision and did not follow procedures that left the mandate flawed, The Associated Press reported.

While masks are no longer required to be worn, the CDC will recommend that if a person has risk factors or lives in a high transmission area, masks should be worn.

Uber said in the policy change announcement that people may feel safer wearing masks so others should be respectful of that decision.

The CDC had extended the mask mandate until May 3, two weeks after it had been set to expire to allow time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus that is responsible for most of the country’s current cases, the AP reported.

The judge’s ruling allows airlines, airports and mass transit systems to make their own decisions about masking requirements, the AP reported.

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