Uber to require drivers, riders to wear face masks and open windows

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Uber on Wednesday announced a range of new measures meant to ensure the safety of its riders and passengers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning Monday, drivers and riders will have to confirm they are wearing a mask or cover before every ride, the company said.

Delivery people and drivers will also be asked to confirm through a new checklist, which requires drivers to verify they are wearing a mask by asking them to take a selfie. Once verified, riders receive a notification through the app.

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Uber announced a range of new safety protocols in response to the COVID-19 pandemic this week.

Uber announced a range of new safety protocols in response to the COVID-19 pandemic this week. (Reuters)

Of course, there's no way to confirm through the app whether the driver actually wears the mask throughout the ride. The measures rely on the honor system.

Passengers will also have to confirm they are wearing a face covering and that they've sanitized their hands; the company is making riders use a similar checklist in the app for verification of these practices.

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“As countries reopen, Uber is focused on safety and proceeding with caution," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement. "Today, we continue to ask riders to stay home if they can, while shipping safety supplies to drivers who are providing essential trips."

Besides confirming they will abide by the face-cover guidelines, riders must also agree to sit in the back seat and open windows for ventilation.

Additional guidelines, which will be in effect through at least the end of June, include reducing the maximum suggested number of passengers for an UberX ride from four to three.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the coronavirus had infected at least 4.3 million people worldwide and caused at least 294,997 deaths.