Uber drops mask mandate as omicron BA.2 spreads

By Michael Grothaus

April 19, 2022

Uber has announced that it is ending its mask mandate in the United States.

The company says that as of April 19, 2022, neither riders nor drivers are required to wear face masks on trips. However, Uber also warns that some common sense is needed, reminding passengers that “the CDC still recommends wearing a mask if you have certain personal risk factors and/or high transmission levels in your area.”

The company also reminded Uber riders and drivers to keep others in mind as some people will still want to wear masks. “Remember: Many people still feel safer wearing a mask because of personal or family health situations, so please be respectful of their preferences,” the company wrote on its Safety page. “And if you ever feel uncomfortable, you can always cancel the trip.”

Uber dropping its mask mandate comes days after the Associated Press reported that COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise in the United States. This rise is fueled in many areas by the spread of the omicron BA.2 sub-variant. As of last Thursday, the seven-day rolling average of cases was up almost 25% to 39,521 new daily cases.

As for why Uber is dropping its mask mandate even as cases are rising again, it likely has to do with a federal judge’s ruling (April 26, 2022) that the CDC mask mandate for public transport was unlawful. As CNN reported, while the Biden administration is reviewing what steps can be taken (if any), the CDC can no longer compel transportation companies to make mask wearing a requirement.