Uber assured motorists masks weeks earlier. Most state they’re still waiting


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Uber and Lyft motorists state the business require to do more to get them masks and other security equipment to secure them from the coronavirus while on the task.

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Uber stated it was shipping 10s of countless face masks to motorists 2 weeks earlier. The ride-hailing giant stated it would focus on full-time motorists operating in the cities struck hardest by the book coronavirus, like New York and Los Angeles. Then it’d continue to provide face coverings to motorists in other cities all over the world.

For one of the most part, nevertheless, those masks have yet to emerge, motorists state.

Driver groups in Los Angeles and New York state they have not become aware of their members getting these products. A spokesperson for the Independent Drivers Guild, which represents 200,000 motorists in the New York location, stated none of its motorists have actually reported getting masks. A spokesperson for Mobile Workers Alliance, which represents countless motorists in Southern California, stated simply 3 motorists have actually reported getting products from Uber.

Wearing masks while on the task has now end up being necessary for important employees in lots of cities throughout the United States, consisting of New York and Los Angeles. And when not needed, it’s highly suggested. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated previously this month that all individuals must use masks in public locations in order to restrict the spread of COVID-19, the illness triggered by the coronavirus.

Uber and Lyft motorists are thought about important employees, which implies they can continue to work as the infection spreads. They’ve been providing food to individuals in quarantine and transferring medical employees to and from the medical facility. Many motorists state they have actually had a challenging time throughout the pandemic, seeing their profits drop or getting contaminated with the infection. At least 4 Uber motorists are understood to have actually passed away from COVID-19, one in New York, one in Brazil and 2 in London.

“It’s been disappointing that when crisis struck, Uber and Lyft did not move quickly to protect their workers and riders,” stated Moira Muntz, spokesperson from the Independent Drivers Guild. “After several weeks without income and with unemployment claims stuck in bureaucracy, more drivers are looking to get back to work but they need to be protected.”

Delays and low products

Part of the issue is that shop racks have actually cleared throughout the coronavirus break out and security equipment is now in brief supply.

To avoid that problem, Uber stated it dealt with makers in China to source its own masks for motorists. The masks Uber is dispersing aren’t N95 respirators that healthcare employees require, however rather non reusable ear-loop face masks.

Initially, Uber stated it delivered its very first order of about 20,000 masks to motorists in New York City on April 7. Another delivery went to Los Angeles motorists quickly later, and Uber stated those employees must’ve gotten the masks in the mail by the end of recently. An Uber representative stated that since Wednesday, about 800,000 masks have actually either delivered or are being loaded for shipping and millions more are on the method. The business stated it can’t forecast mail hold-ups.

“Like so many in the US and around the world, we have struggled to find these types of supplies, but we leveraged our global footprint to source items from suppliers around the world,” the representative stated. “Of course, given the logistical realities, getting a mask to every active driver will take time, and we have been honest about that.”

The 3 motorists associated with Mobile Workers Alliance who did get masks stated they got a plan of a number of single-use masks from Uber. A couple of other motorists have actually pointed out on social networks that they too got a plan of masks.

“I got about 6 face masks from Uber today after filling out the request form last week,” one Los Angeles-based Reddit user published last Friday. “Good too, the one I was using for the last 30 days is just about trashed.”

Because Uber is focusing on which motorists get masks in the meantime, the only method to get the face coverings is to be welcomed by the business. Uber is sending out those choose motorists a message in the app that states if they desire masks, they require to validate their address. Uber stated that as it gets more products, its objective is to provide masks to all motorists across the country.

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Lyft said it’s distributing masks to its drivers too. Rather than send them in the mail, like Uber, it’s instead handing them out on certain days in select cities. In Los Angeles, for example, any driver can go to a specified parking lot where a representative will give them one mask and one sanitizing product per week. The supplies are only available every other day and on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We’ve ordered hundreds of thousands of cloth face coverings for drivers,” a Lyft spokeswoman said. “We’ve already begun distributing these to drivers, prioritizing regions where additional guidance about face coverings has been given.”

Sanitizer shortages

Uber announced earlier this month that it shipped 30,000 one-quart bottles of disinfectant spray to drivers in several cities to help them clean their cars. And it said it’s currently shipping out another large order of disinfectant wipes. But the company has run into issues distributing sanitizer as well.

As with the masks, Uber got the disinfectants from third-party suppliers. It said that since its initial order, multiple additional orders from various manufacturers have been either delayed or cancelled to prioritize health care workers and other first responders. 

In its first shipment, Uber said it sent 11,000 bottles to New York drivers. But the Independent Drivers Guild said none of its drivers have reported getting any sanitizer from Uber. To get drivers personal protective equipment, the group said it’s been working with the non-profit Black Car Fund to buy and distribute masks, sanitizer and gloves.

In Los Angeles, drivers say they’re trying to do what they can to keep themselves and their passengers safe. Some have homemade masks and erected plastic barriers between the front and back seats. Others have gloves that they’ll reuse. Many clean their cars with Lysol spray, which is still difficult to find at grocery stores.

As long as drivers are only provided piecemeal safety equipment, ride-hailing is going to continue to create risks regarding the spread of COVID-19, said Uber and Lyft driver Armen Oganesyan, who’s affiliated with Mobile Workers Alliance.

“The companies’ refusal to provide all drivers with personal protective equipment will have grave consequences,” Oganesyan said. “They must take action now to save lives.”

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