What Rideshare, Taxi, Limo, and other Passenger Drivers-for-Hire Need to Know about COVID-19
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms often include cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell. Our understanding of how the virus spreads is evolving as we learn more about it, so check the CDC website for the latest information. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks
Recent studies indicate that the virus can be spread by people who are not showing symptoms. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus. Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.
As a rideshare, taxi, limo, or other driver-for-hire, how can I protect myself and others?
As a driver-for-hire, potential sources of exposure include having close contact with passengers with COVID-19, or touching surfaces touched or handled by a person with COVID-19.
Stay home if you are sick
- If you develop a fever, or symptoms such as a cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice and guidance before visiting their office.
- You should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, after talking with your doctor or nurse.
Wear a cloth face covering
- CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas where there may be a lot of infected people.
- Cloth face coverings may prevent people who don’t know they have the virus from transmitting it to others.
- These face coverings are not surgical masks or respirators and are not appropriate substitutes for them in workplaces where masks or respirators are recommended or required.
- Avoid providing pooled rides or picking up multiple passengers who would not otherwise be riding together on the same route.
- Tell the passenger to sit in the back seat; do not let passengers sit in the front seat.
- Avoid close contact with passengers, when possible.
- Keep a distance of at least 6 feet from passengers when you are outside the vehicle.
- Ask that passengers sit six feet from the driver when transporting passengers in larger vehicles such as vans and buses.
- Consider asking passengers to handle their own personal bags and belongings during pick-up and drop-off.
- If you work for a company that offers a large fleet of vehicles, ask company management for a car/taxi (when applicable) with a partition between driver and passengers, if available.
- Avoid using the recirculated air option for the car’s ventilation during passenger transport; use the car’s vents to bring in fresh outside air and/or lower the vehicle windows.
- Avoid offering items such as water bottles or magazines often provided for free to passengers.
- Avoid contact with surfaces frequently touched by passengers or other drivers, such as door frame/handles, windows, seatbelt buckles, steering wheel, gearshift, signaling levers, and other vehicle parts before cleaning and disinfection.
Clean and disinfect
- Get and carry cleaning and disinfectant spray or disposable wipes and disposal trash bags with you in your vehicle.
- Follow the directions on the cleaning product’s label.
- If surfaces are visibly dirty, they should be cleaned with detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- At a minimum, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in the vehicle at the beginning and end of each shift, and between transporting passengers who are sick.
- Appropriate disinfectants for hard non-porous surfaces include:
- EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2external icon
- Diluted household bleach solutions prepared and used according to the manufacturers label for disinfection if appropriate for the surface
- Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.
Practice everyday preventive actions
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Proper hand hygiene is an important infection control measure. Keep in mind where you can access and use facilities with soap and water during your shift. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Key times to clean hands include:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after using the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- Additional times on the job to clean hands include:
- Before and after work shifts
- Before and after work breaks
- After handling passengers’ personal belongings, if unavoidable
- Between rides and after handling/exchanging money
- After putting on, touching, or removing cloth face coverings
- Before wearing and after removing cold-weather gloves
- Before and after pumping gas
- Carry tissues in your vehicle to use when you cough, sneeze, or touch your face. Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Ask passengers to wear a cloth face covering and cover their mouth and nose with tissues if they cough or sneeze. Ask the passenger to dispose of the tissues after exiting the vehicle.
- Immediately report any passengers intentionally spreading their germs in car interior to management, your app rideshare company, and/or the authorities, as appropriate.
- If you feel uncomfortable with providing transport to a visibly sick passenger for safety reasons, you can choose to refuse transport. However, discrimination against passengers on the basis of race, national origin, or other reasons as described in your company’s policies is not allowed.
What steps should my rideshare service or taxi/limo transportation company take?
The rideshare services or taxi/limo transportation companies for whom you are a contract driver should develop and share a set of COVID-19 response measures to inform and help protect drivers and passengers. They should:
- Actively encourage sick drivers to stay home.
- Provide employees with where to find accurate information about COVID-19, its symptoms, and how it spreads.
- Encourage the use of and provide assistance in acquiring hand sanitizer and disposable wipes and cleaning products so that commonly touched vehicle surfaces can be wiped down by drivers.
- Develop policies and technology options that allow and prioritize contactless transactions that limit or eliminate close contact and the sharing of items such as pens and electronic signature pads between drivers and passengers.
Where can I get more information?
Stay informed. Review health and safety measures taken by your rideshare or transportation company about COVID-19. See these sources for more information on worker exposures to COVID-19:
- CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic website
- CDC COVID-19 website
- OSHA COVID-19 websiteexternal icon
- CDCINFO: 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) | TTY: 1-888-232-6348 | website