An Uber spokesperson has 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 company said it will abide by measures announced by the government and only operate Uber rides during the periods announced by the transport minister yesterday.
“In accordance with the measures announced by Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula on 25 March 2020 to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, Uber will still be able to operate daily across South Africa between 05:00 to 10:00 and 16:00 to 20:00, during the 21-day National lockdown for essential travel only,” Uber said.
“We remain in close contact with local public health authorities and will continue to follow their guidance to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19. The health and safety of our community come first, and we will do our best to support drivers, our community and essential staff during these unprecedented times.”
Uber noted that riders who use the service for non-essential travel are responsible for arranging the required supporting documentation.
The company has introduced safety recommendations within its app to raise awareness about suggested travel restrictions and social distancing, as well as via its email and social media channels.
Drivers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in individual quarantine by a public health authority are eligible for financial assistance from the company for a period of up to 14 days.
Since all restaurants will be closed during the lockdown, Uber Eats will not be able to deliver food.
“In accordance with the measures announced by the South African Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, on 24 March 2020 that all restaurants need to adhere to the 21-day National lockdown, we are temporarily pausing the Uber Eats service across South Africa to adhere to these restrictions,” Uber said.
The company said it was saddened that it would not be able to service its customers or restaurant partners, but added that it must support Government in flattening the curve.
“The health and safety of our community come first, and we will do our best to support our community and small businesses during these unprecedented times,” Uber said.
The company said it was aware of the impact the changes would have on restaurant-partners and courier earnings and that it was doing its best to support their couriers during this period.
It said it was looking into the possibility of delivering essential goods through the Uber Eats app to enable businesses and couriers to continue to have an avenue to generate income and lessen the burden on the solidarity fund.