Uber Canada to drop mask mandate for drivers and passengers

Uber Canada will no longer require its drivers and passengers to wear masks while using their service as of April 22.

“In accordance with provincial public health guidelines, masks will no longer be required when using Uber in Canada (except Quebec) effective this Friday, April 22,” an Uber Canada spokesperson told CTVnews.ca in an email on Tuesday.

However, Uber Canada still encourages wearing a mask while sharing a ride.

“As per Health Canada’s advice, we still strongly recommend wearing a mask depending on personal risk factors and infection rates in your area,” the statement continued.

The policy does not apply to the province of Quebec that extended its mask mandate until April 30 amid a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. 

Drivers will still have the right to require their riders to wear a mask and can cancel a trip for safety reasons if the rider declines.

Uber Canada also says that riders can message their driver in advance through the app if they want the driver to wear a mask, and always have the right to cancel a trip in accordance with Uber’s usual cancellation policy.

“As we move forward, and mask guidance and COVID-19 protocols continue to evolve, we’re committed to maintaining policies that help everyone on our platform remain as safe as possible,” Uber Canada said in the statement.

In an email to customers on Wednesday night, Uber added that it is also dropping its “no-front-seat policy,” but recommends only using the front seat if needed for space.

Uber and Lyft removed their mask mandates in the U.S on Tuesday one day after a federal judge in Florida struck down U.S. President Biden’s administration’s mask mandate for planes, trains, buses and other public transport.

Lyft Canada confirmed to CTV news via email that all their in-ride health and safety guidelines, including the mask requirement, will remain in effect throughout Canada.

Canada’s Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says there are no plans in place to change the masking policy on planes and trains in Canada, and that the mask mandates are to remain.

“The mask regulation is in place and it’s based on the advice that we received from our experts and doctors and based on data. It is proven that masks prevent or reduce the transmission of COVID,” he said.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam continues to advise Canadians to wear a mask, regardless of varying jurisdictional guidelines, as the country sees a recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

According to the city of Toronto, all vehicles operating as part of a business or organization, such as taxis, require drivers and passengers to use masks and face coverings.

This rule does not apply to ride-sharing services.