Uber must close during coronavirus lockdown

Update – Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula clarified on 25 March 2020 that Uber would be able to continue operating in South Africa during the lockdown period.

An Uber spokesperson confirmed that the company’s ride-sharing service will be available on a limited basis during the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown in South Africa, while its food delivery service Uber Eats will not be operational.

The original article is below.

South African Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has confirmed that ride-hailing services such as Uber and Bolt will be closed for the duration of the country’s 21-day coronavirus lockdown.

Speaking in an interview with 702, Mbalula said there would be special considerations made for public transport such as minibus taxis, however.

“We are looking at allocating time for the operation of taxis in the morning peak and in the evening,” Mbalula said.

“Trains will not be operating, long-distance has been shut down in terms of Shosholoza Meyl.”

These considerations are made to facilitate the transport of essential services workers to their jobs for the duration of the lockdown.

This comes at the same time as Uber South Africa stating on Twitter that it was working to understand the effects of the lockdown on its business.

“We are working as a business to better understand the measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 23 March 2020 regarding transport and food delivery, and will announce our actions to this in due course,” Uber said.

All restaurants and takeaways closed

Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced earlier today that all South African restaurants and takeaway businesses will be closed during South Africa’s 21-day coronavirus lockdown.

Kubayi-Ngubane released a statement addressed to the restaurant industry which stated that restaurants, bars, cafes, and coffee shops were not on the list of essential services which can remain open.

“In addition, in compliance with the nationwide lockdown all food delivery services will also need to be suspended for 21 days with effect from midnight Thursday 26 March 2020 until midnight Thursday 16 April 2020,” Kubayi-Ngubane said.

It is unclear whether Uber Eats or Mr D Food will close entirely due to the lockdown.

At the time of writing, these companies had not issued statements on their operations during the lockdown.

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Uber must close during coronavirus lockdown