Coronavirus • 01 April, 2020

COVID-19: Guidance for Rideshare and Taxi Drivers

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The Washington State Department of Health understands the potential for loss of business for taxi and rideshare drivers during the COVID-19 outbreak. We’ve developed the guidance below to help you protect yourself and your passengers during this time.

If you work for a rideshare company, you may determine that you do not want to risk working during this time. For taxi drivers, this may not be an option. In addition, taxi drivers may work for a company with a non-ambulance transportation contract—meaning you may drive medical customers to the doctor’s office or hospital. This may put you at increased risk for COVID-19.

Stay up-to-date.

Monitor public health updates

Know the symptoms of COVID-19

Symptoms of coronavirus are similar to flu or colds and may include:

    • Runny nose

    • Headache

    • Cough

    • Sore throat

    • Fever

    • A general feeling of being unwell

If you have these symptoms, remain in home isolation for 7 days OR until 72 hours after your fever has resolved (and symptoms get better) whichever is longer. 

Keep yourself and your passengers protected

To ensure you keep and passengers protected, you can take the following steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Ask passengers to sit in the back to create physical distance.
  • Avoid handling money, if possible. Consider wearing disposable gloves if you must collect money from customers. Use one pair of gloves per customer and throw them away after.
  • Have tissues and hand sanitizer available for your passengers.
  • Print and post information for passengers in your back seat.

Disinfect your car regularly

  • Plan to clean and disinfect your car as often as possible—especially after you drop off passengers who appear to be sick and after every medical passenger. Pay close attention to surfaces that are touched often by passengers.
  • Use a disinfectant that is pre-approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use against novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and only use them once.

Special precautions for drivers transporting patients to health care facilities

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers “Medical transport workers (e.g., ambulance vehicle operators) moving known or suspected COVID-19 patients in enclosed vehicles” to be at high risk for exposure. If you are transporting medical customers, take the following precautions:

  • Be sure to have alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol content and use it often.
  • It is recommended that you wear personal protective equipment, such as disposable gloves and a face mask. It is important to replace your disposable gloves and face mask after every medical customer.
  • If you are transporting a patient that is known to or is suspected to have COVID-19, OSHA recommends that you wear a respirator. You may also want to wear a gown and a face shield or goggles if you help customers in and out of the car.
  • After helping a medical passenger out of the car, you should remove all protective equipment and wash your hands or use high alcohol content hand sanitizer before getting back into your car.
  • Speak to your company administration about providing personal protective equipment if they have not provided it.
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