Uber Technologies (NYSE:UBER) announced that it may temporarily suspend the accounts of any drivers or riders who test positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus or have been exposed to it.
The ridesharing and food-delivery company said it is working with public health authorities in responding to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, and is consulting with an epidemiologist to ensure the actions the company takes "are grounded in medical advice."
A message for drivers and customers
In an update posted to the company's website, Uber outlined the initiatives it is undertaking in light of the outbreak. Beyond account suspensions, Uber said any driver or delivery person diagnosed with COVID-19 or who has been asked to self-isolate will have their account placed on hold for two weeks, but will receive financial assistance.
It's also helping drivers keep their cars clean and sanitized, and though disinfectant supplies are limited, Uber says it is working with manufacturers to obtain as much as it can. When sourced, it will distribute those supplies to the cities where the need is greatest.
As the outbreak spreads, many people are attempting to limit their exposure by ordering food for delivery rather than going to grocery stores or restaurants. Uber has notified customers of its Uber Eats service that they can add a note via the app asking the driver to leave their food order at their door, allowing them to avoid close contact.
The rideshare service also told those in its Uber Pro program, a rewards program for excellent service that allows drivers to earn extra money, that they will not be penalized during this period.
Regarding financial help for drivers unable to work due to a COVID-19 diagnosis or self-isolation order, the company said: "We've already helped drivers in some affected areas, and we're working to quickly implement this worldwide."