Uber driver unhappy with company removing mask policy: ‘I’ll drive away and cancel’

An Uber driver says the company’s move to remove mandatory masking is not safe and is putting her at risk.

Uber Canada says masks will no longer be required for drivers or riders beginning Friday.

The company says it still strongly recommends wearing a mask and that drivers will have the option to require riders to wear a face covering.

That’s not good enough, says driver Earla Phillips.

“Just because we don’t want to wear masks doesn’t mean the pandemic is over,” said Phillips, who has been driving for Uber for nearly seven years.

“In fact, the infections have been rising, and the numbers have been rising. And we are in small confined spaces, which increases our risk.”

WATCH: Business Report: Uber dropping mask requirement

Reactions online have been mixed. While some are happy to see masking is no longer required, others say they will no longer use Uber’s services.

For Phillips, the response is simple. “If people don’t want to wear a mask in my car, that’s fine. I’ll just drive away and cancel,” she said.

Uber drivers will still have the right to require their passengers to wear a mask, and can cancel a trip if the rider refuses. Passengers have similar rights, and can message their driver in advance if they want them to mask up. Phillips says that’s unfair to drivers.

“They’re putting it on our shoulders to decide,” she said. “I think that is going to increase negative interactions with riders, because there are people who don’t have to wear a mask. I have to deal with that frustration of denying riders.”

In a statement to CityNews, Uber Canada said: “In accordance with provincial public health guidelines, masks will no longer be required when using Uber in Canada (except Quebec.)”

In mid-March, Uber Canada told CityNews that mask requirements in its rideshare vehicles would correspond to the provinces’ lifting of mandates in specific settings and eventually be made optional, but not immediately.

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