Canada

Uber Canada will ditch mask mandate on Friday, except in Quebec

Uber Canada will on Friday no longer require drivers or passengers to wear masks during rides in most of the country, though the ride-sharing company says it "still strongly" recommends them.

Company says it still 'strongly' recommends masks during rides

Riders and drivers with Uber Canada will no longer be required to wear masks or face coverings starting Friday — except in Quebec, the company says. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Uber Canada will on Friday no longer require drivers or passengers to wear masks during rides in most of the country, though the ride-sharing company says it "still strongly" recommends them.

The decision, ending a policy in place since May 2020, was made to reflect changing public health guidelines, the company said Tuesday. Ontario and British Columbia ended their mask mandates for most public indoor spaces last month. Alberta and Saskatchewan dropped theirs in February. 

"As we move forward, and mask guidance and COVID-19 protocols continue to evolve, we're committed to maintaining policies that help everyone on our platform remain as safe as possible," the company said in a statement.

Uber Canada will still require masks in Quebec, which earlier this month extended its mask mandate — initially set to expire in mid-April — as a new wave of COVID-19 spread.

In the rest of Canada, individual drivers can still require passengers to wear masks in the vehicle. They can also cancel a trip if the passenger refuses. Passengers can also cancel if they don't want to wear a mask, or if they do but the driver does not. 

Riders can also message drivers in advance through the app and ask them to wear a mask, an Uber spokesperson told CBC News. 

Lyft, Uber's competitor, announced Friday that wearing a mask is now optional for all rides in Canada, and that passengers can sit in the front seat if both they and the driver are comfortable doing so.

In the U.S., both companies said they would lift their mask mandates. Passengers there can still cancel a ride if they wish, but might get hit with a cancellation fee.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jenna Benchetrit is a web journalist for CBC News. Based in Toronto and born in Montreal, she holds a master's degree in journalism from Ryerson University. Reach her at jenna.benchetrit@cbc.ca or on Twitter @jennabenchetrit.

With files from Reuters

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