Uber, Lyft and Disney end mask mandates as COVID cases fall

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FILE PHOTO: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in New York

(Reuters) – Uber Technologies and Lyft Inc have scrapped face mask mandates for their riders and drivers in the United States, the ride-hailing companies said on Tuesday, as COVID cases have fallen sharply from their January peak.

Walt Disney Co also said that wearing masks would be optional for fully vaccinated visitors at its indoor and outdoor locations and transport facilities. It recommended guests who are not fully vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings at all indoor locations and enclosed transportation

Lyft, which also ended requirements for vehicle windows to be kept open and for the front seat to empty, said health safety reasons will no longer appear under cancellation options on its app.

Uber, which introduced mask mandates for its drivers, riders and delivery workers around the world in May 2020, said that riders will have the option to cancel their trip if they feel uncomfortable with revocation of the mask mandate.

Uber added that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing a mask if a person has certain high-risk factors or if transmission levels are high in their area. The company in November resumed shared rides, which had been suspended due to rising COVID cases.

Allegiant Travel Co, Hawaiian Holdings Inc, Spirit Airlines and Frontier Group Holdings Inc also lifted their mask mandates on Tuesday.

The Joe Biden administration said on Monday it would no longer enforce a U.S. mask mandate on public transportation, after a federal judge in Florida ruled that the 14-month-old directive was unlawful.

Major carriers including American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines relaxed curbs following the announcement.

(This story corrects paragraph 2 to say Disney only recommends not fully vaccinated guests wear masks, not would have to continue to wear one)

(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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