In yet another sign that life is returning to pre-pandemic business as usual, Uber and Lyft announced today that they are lifting mask mandates for riders and drivers, the company Uber announced the move early Tuesday, and Lyft swiftly followed suit.
Uber changed its rule, which has been in effect for two years, just a day after a federal judge in Florida blocked a public transportation mask mandate, including on planes, trains and buses, effectively allowing individual agencies to decide on mask rules themselves. The TSA said it won't enforce mask mandates anymore, and a few D.C.-area public transit agencies dropped their own mask policies. New York City plans to keep its mask mandate in place.
Lyft advised that people should still not drive or get a ride if they have COVID-19 symptoms, and riders and drivers should check local laws in case they still require mask.
"Remember: many people still feel safer wearing a mask because of personal or family health situations, so please be respectful of their preferences," Uber said in its announcement on Tuesday. "And if you ever feel uncomfortable, you can always cancel the trip."
Like all other transit services, Uber implemented a mask mandate at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. To make sure people followed the rule, the company required drivers to submit a mask-wearing selfie and asked riders to confirm they are wearing one through its app. Enforcing the rule became increasingly difficult for drivers earlier this year as states began lifting pandemic-related restrictions.
Mask mandates have been in flux in recent months as COVID-19 restrictions shift from state to state. Apple more recently ended its mask mandate at retail stores around the U.S., although employees still need to wear a face covering. Amazon also made masks optional for warehouse workers in late February. At the same time, big tech companies are bringing their employees back to the office, although mask rules have varied from company to company.