As governments globally work towards partially lifting coronavirus lockdowns in lesser affected areas, Uber too has been granted permission in some of these areas to operate. Company CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has hence penned a detailed blog post, talking about some of the measures the company is taking as riders take their “Second first trip”.

To start with, all drivers across the globe will now be required to wear face masks during all times. All Uber drivers will go through something called a new ‘Go Online’ Checklist and verify that they’ve taken certain safety measures and are wearing a mask or face cover.

Khosrowshahi says that Uber has come with a new mask detection technology, that will verify whether the driver is wearing a mask/face cover or not. To do that, the driver will take a selfie and the technology detects whether there is a mask or not by taking it in as an object in the photo. He further mentions that no other biometric information is being processed and that there is no reverse check of the photo with any of the profiles in the company’s driver database.

A similar checklist has been introduced for riders as well. Before every trip, riders must confirm that they’ve taken precautions like wearing a face cover and washing or sanitizing their hands. They must also agree to sit in the back seat and open windows for ventilation. The company is also reducing the maximum suggested number of passengers for an UberX ride to 3 from 4.

A rider or a driver can cancel the ride if they feel that either of them is not safe and is not following the precautionary measures.

In terms of providing masks and other safety equipment to its driver partners, Uber says it has marked $50 million for the purchase of same. These supplies include masks, disinfectant sprays and wipes, hand sanitizer, and gloves. As of this week, the company has secured more than 23 million masks for drivers and delivery people globally. Many of these items were shipped directly to driver’s homes, while for others, a remuneration against purchase of cleaning supplies is being provided.

In the United States, Canada, India and most of Europe and Latin America, drivers who are not wearing a mask or face cover will not be able to go online beginning next Monday, May 18. The policy will remain in place till June-end, post which the company will re-assess health situation and take measures accordingly.