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Lyft to require drivers and riders to wear face masks

Lyft (LYFT) riders and drivers will now have to self-certify that they will wear a mask or face covering if they want to use the ride-sharing service.

The new measure comes as Lyft announces a slew of new safety procedures aimed at protecting drivers and riders from the impact of the coronavirus just as a number of states begin to unwind their lockdown orders.

Lyft's announcement follows Uber's (UBER) confirmation of a CNN report that the company will also require drivers and riders to wear face coverings when using the service in the U.S. Uber has said it is also developing a technology that will be able to detect if a driver is wearing a mask.

In addition to Lyft’s mask requirement, drivers will have to keep their cars clean and sanitize their hands frequently, keep windows down when possible, and avoid using recirculated air in their vehicles. Also, passengers will not be allowed to ride in the front seat of Lyfts.

Taxi driver Nicolae Hent, wearing a protective mask, poses for a photograph before before starting work in New York, Monday, April 6, 2020. A taxi driver's job was already tougher in recent years with the arrival of ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft. The empty streets during the coronavirus pandemic have made things more difficult. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Lyft will soon require drivers and riders to wear face masks if they want to use the service. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Importantly, neither drivers nor riders will be able to use the service if they have COVID-19, think they have it, or have any related symptoms, the company said in a release.

The ride-sharing industry has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, as riders are forced to stay home amid lockdown orders. With restaurants and other entertainment venues closed, there's been little need for riders to use such services during the crisis.

As a result, both Lyft and Uber have announced significant cost-cutting measures including layoffs. Lyft said in April that it was cutting 17% of its workforce, or 982 jobs, and furloughing an additional 288 employees. Company executives and vice presidents also agreed to pay cuts.

Uber, meanwhile, said it is cutting 14% of its workforce, or 3,700 jobs. Those cuts will come from the company's customer support and recruiting divisions, according to a filing with the SEC. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will also forgo his base salary for the remainder of 2020.

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