SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Following this week’s court ruling, masks are now optional on public transit, including a close-quartered setting many people find themselves in every day: taxis and rideshares.
“For me, it’s okay,” said Uber driver Mohamed Saoud.
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While passengers spend minimal time with drivers, many drivers spend their entire day with passengers in small, enclosed spaces.
Even though he doesn’t technically have to wear a mask anymore, rideshare driver Roberto Rebello told KPIX 5 he will continue to wear it while on the job for a few reasons.
“First, it’s my wife. She has really bad asthma, so I try to help my wife, ”he said.
Rebello’s second reason, he’s nervous that he may alienate some potential customers if he doesn’t wear the mask.
“I had a 50-something year old lady. I took her to Oakland. As soon as I dropped her off and before she left the car, she said ‘Driver, thank you for still wearing your mask,’ “he said. “I’m sure if I take my mask off, especially for some people 40, 50, 60, they’d cancel the ride.”
Meanwhile, Rebello said maskless passengers in his car doesn’t really concern him. “I’m fine, and I hope I don’t pay the price,” he said.
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Saoud isn’t very concerned, either.
“Me? I don’t care, “he said. “Some people wear them, some people don’t.”
But Gavin, a rideshare driver KPIX 5 met in San Francisco, isn’t thrilled about the potential for mask-less passengers in his car.
“I feel it’s potentially unsafe as the new variant is climbing,” Gavin said.
He’s not alone. Another rideshare driver, who didn’t feel comfortable going on camera, said he’d prefer his passengers to wear masks but he can’t tell them they have to wear masks.
Taxi driver Youssef Jaljaa plans to stay masked up as well, but is glad those who get in his cab have the choice of whether they want to wear a mask or not.
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“Personally, I’ll keep wearing my mask. I don’t want to take the risk right now, ”he said. “But if they like to wear it, they wear it. If they don’t, they’re still free. “