Earlier this month we reported that Uber was working on a way to verify that drivers were wearing masks while driving riders around.

Today Uber has announced that, from 18th May, Mask Verification will be implemented for drivers and couriers, but what does that mean?

Before going online to work, drivers and couriers will need to take a selfie of themselves wearing a mask. Using object recognition technology, Uber will determine whether a driver is indeed wearing a mask and if they are they will be allowed to go online and work.

Drivers and couriers who are not wearing masks will be not be allowed to go online.

Uber did not mention if drivers will be prompted to verify they are wearing a mask at random times but we’ve fired off the question to them and will update this story should we receive a response.

In addition to the object recognition tech, drivers will also have to confirm that they have sanitised their car (and do so regularly) as well as whether they have hand sanitiser available for riders.

Riders meanwhile are required to wear masks, sit in the back seat, open windows for ventilation and wash their hands before and after a ride.

“For months we’ve been urging people to stay home, for their safety and the safety of drivers who continue to make essential trips. Now, as cities begin to reopen and people start moving again, we’re taking unprecedented measures to help everyone stay safe and healthy, every time they use Uber. This includes working with partners like Unilever to help drivers, couriers and riders access the masks and hygiene kits they need to work and travel more safely,” Uber chief executive officer, Dara Khosrowshahi, said in a statement.

In South Africa Uber has partnered with the Youth Employment Service to provide masks to drivers across South Africa.

Uber has said that in the UK it is providing hygiene kits (containing antibacterial spray and alcohol-based hand gel) to drivers. There are plans to expand this offering across Europe, the Middle East and Africa but there is no timeline on this as of time of writing.

The firm has allocated $50 million (~R933 million) globally to provide personal protective equipment, cleaning and sanitising supplies to drivers.

These additional safety measures will come into effect on 18th May as previously mentioned and will continue to be enforced until the end of June when they will be reviewed alongside guidance from health officials.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]