face masks required – text on a disposable mask against red textured paper, business sign during the coronavirus covid-19 pandemic and social distancing

According to epidemiologists, it would be “wise” to require drivers and passengers of Taxis and For-Hire Vehicles to be vaccinated. The risk of coronavirus transmission during a car ride can be “uncomfortably high,” depending on factors like the length of the ride, mask wearing, how quickly the virus is spreading in the community and, crucially, whether the windows are up or down.

As it gets colder, Dr. Barun Mathema, assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health says, riders “are just not going to want” to keep the windows open. Mathema called for “creative solutions” to promote vaccinated rides, short of a mandate, perhaps including discounts for vaccinated riders, driver incentives or some kind of opt-in system for the jabbed.

“There has to be coordination,” he said. “And this has to come from the government,” or one ridesharing company could lose business getting ahead of others with a mandate.

NYC’s Taxi & Limousine Commission told The Post that while riders and drivers must mask up, neither are subject to vaccine requirements like some city and state workers. Both Uber and Lyft require passengers using their apps to agree to mask up and keep the windows down before each ride – but Andrew Burgie, assistant research scientist at NYU’s School of Global Public Health, said those measures were only “the best thing you could do until something better comes along” – namely, the vaccine. Now that the shots are easy and free to get, he said it doesn’t make sense to rely on what he called “secondary controls.”

“It would make sense to have a mandate,” he said. “If everybody were inoculated, then we wouldn’t necessarily need to worry about masks.”

Source: New York Post