Uber and Lyft say riders and drivers in New York are no longer required to wear masks. "With NYC's updated mask guidance for transportation, masks are now optional in Lyft rides," a Lyft spokesperson told Engadget. "We're in the process of updating the app to reflect this." Uber informed users of the policy change by email.
The move follows Governor Kathy Hochul's decision to lift a mask mandate for public transportation on Wednesday. New York City's Taxi & Limousine Commission also announced that face coverings were no longer mandatory in vehicles that it oversees, though it still strongly recommends wearing masks. Face coverings are no longer required on the subway either.
After a federal judge struck down a nationwide mask mandate for public transit in April, Uber and Lyft both dropped their mask requirements in the US. However, riders and drivers still needed to wear masks in some areas, including New York, depending on local regulations. (Engadget has also asked Lyft about its masking policy in New York.)
COVID-19 case numbers have been falling in NYC since a sixth wave hit the city in July, The New York Times notes. Although she removed the mask mandate, Hochul encouraged the state's residents to get a booster shot that targets the Omicron variant. The Food and Drug Administration authorized Omicron inoculations last month.
(2/2) The health and safety of our drivers and riders remains a top priority for TLC, and we encourage both to respect each other’s choices around masking
— NYC TLC (@nyctaxi) September 7, 2022