Uber is taking several actions to support its drivers, customers, business partners, and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are one of several businesses stepping up to the plate during this time.
A few weeks ago, Uber published its first changes in policy; the company has continued adding to this list of measures since.
In regards to public safety, Uber is working with local public health authorities in order to temporarily suspend accounts of those who have contracted the virus. Any driver or delivery person whose account is suspended for this reason can be eligible for up to 14 days of financial assistance while their account is on hold. Uber has also incorporated in-app public health messages into the app, suspended Uber Pool, and created a no-contact “leave at door” delivery feature. They’ve even started, in a few areas, allowing UberEats orders to be done over a dedicated phone number for those who do not have smartphones.
In addition to some of these in-app feature changes, Uber is also committed to providing 10 million rides and food deliveries to healthcare workers, seniors and people in need, free of charge. In addition to free rides and deliveries, they’ve also committed to providing “300,000 free meals on Uber Eats to first responders and healthcare workers in the US and Canada, 100,000 in London, and 25,000 in Australia and New Zealand.” For those in vulnerable populations, Uber announced discounted rides for those in San Francisco, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Seattle.
Below, Brooklyn Council Member Mark Treyger announced that, through this program, 800 workers at Coney Island Hospital received $25 each to use for UberEats:
I’m thrilled to report that my office coordinated w/ @Uber & @UberEats to provide $20,000 in FREE @UberEats credits to our hero healthcare workers saving lives 24/7 at @ConeyIslandHosp 800 workers will receive $25 each to use for @UberEats starting today.
— Mark Treyger (@MarkTreyger718) April 1, 2020
Stephanie Silver, a health care provider who had been treating COVID-19 patients, was able to receive a free ride home because of this program:
Today was a very long day looking after covid patients in picu, so thanks to @Uber for the free ride home. Got home and showered before 9pm. Luxury ! Rest, sleep, repeat.
— Stephanie Silver (@steffieegg12) April 1, 2020
Denis Muganga, a member of NHS staff, was also able to receive a free ride home:
— Denis Muganga (@denismuganga1) March 31, 2020
In order to help keep local restaurants afloat, Uber has waived delivery fees on all orders from independent restaurants. This will encourage more customers to buy from these places. For restaurants who hadn’t delivered through UberEats before, the company has made it quicker and easier to sign up; currently, they have reduced their wait times to less than 24 hours for sign-ups. They’re also contributing to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, in which grants will be rewarded to restaurant industry employees who have been impacted by COVID-19, whether that be through a decrease in wages or a loss of employment.
These are just a few examples of the actions Uber is taking to fight COVID-19: they have also been active in donating, partnering with transit agencies, helping facilitate the transportation of essential workers, and providing perks and protective measures for its drivers and delivery people.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted out his appreciation for Uber’s many services to the people of New York City including $1,000,000+ in free meals and rides, $750,000 in free rides to the mayor’s fund, 10,000 free meals for H+H workers, and 3,500 meals for FDNY:
We will get through this — by looking out for each other. pic.twitter.com/7nJOJHAmaH
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 3, 2020
Uber is a prime example of how the private sector and innovative technologies support communities during this challenging time.