Coronavirus Infected Drivers, Riders Banned From Uber Cabs; Drivers May Receive Financial Aid
Uber Technologies Inc. announced late on March 6 it would begin offering compensation to drivers affected by the coronavirus in the U.S.
Uber is now considering suspending the accounts of riders and drivers who have been infected or have been exposed to Covid-19.
Read to find out more…
Uber Taking Preventive Measures Amidst the Covid-19 PAndemic!
On March 11, The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Last month Uber suspended and then reinstated 240 accounts of users in Mexico who may recently have come in contact with someone possibly infected with the new coronavirus.
In the U.K. self-isolated employees can access statutory sick pay from the first day they are off. It is yet not clear how this applies to gig-economy workers, such as those who work through Uber. The guidance issued by Uber added, “Any driver or delivery person who is diagnosed with Covid-19 or is individually asked to self-isolate by a public health authority will receive financial assistance for up to 14 days while their account is on hold.”
The ride-hailing company said it was ‘working to provide drivers with disinfectants’ for their cars. It has also been advising UberEats delivery executives to employ tactics such as arranging to leave food outside customers’ doors.
The United Private Hire Drivers union told BBC News earlier this week, “Without access to worker rights such as minimum wage and sick pay, drivers who are infected may simply not be able to afford to stop working.”
Uber said some drivers had already received help, adding it was ‘working to quickly implement this worldwide’.
Some drivers, especially those with preexisting medical conditions, have complained that the promise of financial support for those infected is not beneficial in the long run. Indeed, the coronavirus outbreak is highlighting the precarious nature of gig work, from the lack of health benefits and paid sick time, to a potential drop in ridership if fewer people are using the service.
Changes in the Company Policies Following the Outbreak!
Those companies considered part of the sharing or gig economy, Uber among them, have been especially hard hit. The shares of Uber have fallen as the investors flee the stocks susceptible to fallout amidst the covid-19 outbreak.
The company, which has already taken action in some affected countries, said it had a team working around the clock to support public health authorities in their response to the epidemic. The team is the same which is in charge of handling communication with global law enforcement. Uber said its agents were only evaluating accounts if contacted by health officials about someone confirmed to have contracted or been exposed to the Covid-19 virus.
Uber has laid out the company’s detailed policy on the outbreak for all riders and drivers on its website, highlighting the steps the company has taken to manage the situation.
Uber said on March 6 it would offer compensation to drivers and delivery people diagnosed with the coronavirus or placed in quarantine for up to 14 days.
Uber says, “Working with them (drivers), we may temporarily suspend the accounts of riders or drivers confirmed to have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19. We’re also consulting with an epidemiologist to make sure our efforts as a company are grounded in medical advice.”
Will making changes in the company policies and suspending driver accounts help Uber regain its customer and investors amid the panic and scare of the Covid-19 pandemic?