WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Just before what would be rush hour in Washington, two popular rideshare services, Lyft and Uber, announced that masks and other COVID safety protocols will no longer be mandated when taking a ride.
Muhaymin Chowdhury, a university of Maryland student, was stunned to find out about the mandates being lifted and only knew about protocols being changed or removed on public transit. He said he’s not going to ditch his mask any time soon.
“I do feel like it’s a little bit too early. If they would wait a couple of months. So it’s just too confined of a space,” Chowdhury said.
George Washington University student Jenna Stanco ended up booking an uber from Georgetown after bearing the cold weather but didn’t have a mask on her. however, she said she’ll be wearing a mask the next time she books rideshare as going mask-less, even on her campus, is outside of her comfort zone.
“The masks don’t bother me. It’s not a pain for me to wear them. So I usually like to keep mine with me,” Stanco said.
After nearly two years of the pandemic, some are wondering if it is the right choice for rideshares to get rid of the mandates. Allie Scheer found out about the mask mandate being lifted while flying home from Atlanta but was surprised to hear that rideshare services were following suit.
“I understand people’s frustration with it. But at the same time, you know, cases keep going up so I’m not sure actually,” Scheer said. “But I just know in my own case, I think I will wear one.”
Some riders like Stormy Jackson, who was booking a ride from Georgetown, said it depends on where you are.
“I feel like it kinda depends on the area. I feel like in our area, Ubering without a mask on doesn’t freak me out too much only because I feel like this is a really high vaccination rate area.”
While both companies put out official statements announcing the end of the mandates, the two drivers Katie rode with didn’t know about the update. But her Lyft driver Michael is ready for mask-less rides and riders.
“Things are starting to get to normal. Like it’s not as crazy as before. I think I’m pretty much ok with it and I think it’s starting to normalize,” he said.
Despite the mask mandates being lifted, some drivers might still ask you to put a mask on, so it’s best to keep one handy. Both companies wrote in their updated policies that any rider or driver could cancel a trip if they are facing health and safety concerns.