Covid is still with us. Here’s how to keep yourself safe
New variants have meant Covid has stayed with us far longer than we thought possible. Here’s a reminder of the steps you can take to protect yourself, your loved ones and your riders.
As a private hire driver, your work depends on being out and about. So it’s just as important to protect yourself from the virus now as it was when we first learned about it.
Hopefully you are keeping well right now. Here’s some tips on how to stay that way as best you can, so that you can look after both your health and your earnings.
The following information is correct at the time of writing on 25 January 2022.
Covid safety measures
There are a few things you can do to stay safe and protect your riders in the process:
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes you and your passengers wearing a face mask, unless you or they are exempt
- Keep your vehicle clean and hygienic, especially inside
- Request that riders sit in the back
- Don’t work if you test positive or suspect you have Covid.
Let’s talk about these in a bit more detail, and look at some of the other steps you can take to look yourself.
While in your vehicle, wear a protective face mask or covering (more info below). You might want to wear disposable gloves as well.
Have hand sanitiser available and use it regularly. When cleaning your vehicle, the advice is to wear a face covering, a disposable apron and disposable gloves.
You might be able to get help with the cost of PPE. If you drive with Uber, you can use the help section to ask about refunds, or try Uber’s webstore for free and discounted PPE.
Uber continues with its ‘no mask, no ride’ policy, and both drivers and riders are still expected to wear a mask.
Riders should be aware of this by now. If you ever feel unsafe, you can cancel the trip and report it to Uber’s support team. (Select ‘No face cover or mask’ as your cancellation reason.)
This doesn’t count towards your cancellation rate and won’t affect your Uber driver status.
On the other hand, if you’re not wearing a face mask or covering when you arrive at the pick-up point, a rider also has the right to cancel their trip with no cancellation fee. Both passengers and drivers who repeatedly don’t wear a face mask could lose access to the Uber app.
There may be a good reason why someone can’t wear a mask, such as a medical condition, age or a disability. You can find out more about face mask exemptions here.
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Keeping your car clean
Clean your vehicle inside after every trip, paying special attention to areas that riders have probably touched, such as seat belts, car doors and handles.
Use an antibacterial surface spray to clean surfaces. Air out the inside between trips by opening the windows, if the weather allows.
Riders in the back
Since 2020, Uber’s safety policy states that riders shouldn’t sit in the front of your vehicle.
This reduces the maximum number of passengers you can take on one trip – max three passengers for UberX, and up to five for Uber XL.
If you can keep the windows open without making you or your riders uncomfortable, this can help make sure the virus doesn’t spread.
For extra safety, if you have one passenger, suggest they sit behind the front passenger seat. This maximises the distance between both of you.
If a rider tries to get in the front, or there are too many people without using the front seat, just politely explain the back seat policy. Let riders know they can either rebook a bigger Uber or another one for any extra passengers.
Other things to think about
The pandemic changed normal life overnight, and just about everyone has had difficult moments during this time.
If you feel like you or anyone in your family or household could do with some help to cope, there’s some good advice from the NHS, and round the clock support is available from the Samaritans – call free on 116 123.
What if I get Covid?
If you have symptoms that might be Covid, it’s always best to test yourself with a Lateral Flow Test, followed by a PCR test if necessary. If free lateral flow test kits are available near you, you might want to test yourself regularly for peace of mind.
The government guidelines have changed a few times, so it’s important to get advice from the NHS if you test positive and are unsure what to do next – call 119 or go online.
You can also find out more info from the NHS about self-isolation and treatment for Covid symptoms here.
At INSHUR, we want to protect our drivers whatever happens. For a quick, personalised private hire quote, check out INSHUR.
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