COVID-19 Guidance for Taxi Services and Ride Sharing Vehicles

Taxis and rideshares are an essential service to many people in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s (EOHU) region. The following recommendations are intended to help taxi and rideshare employers, drivers, vehicle owners, and passengers reduce the risk of community exposure to respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.

Passengers:

  • Passengers who are required to be in isolation or self-isolation should only travel for essential health care appointments. This includes passengers:
    • With any COVID-19 symptoms, including the symptoms listed on the EOHU's website (Note: This site should be consulted on a weekly basis for any updates.)
    • Who have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days
    • Who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19
    • Who have been instructed to self-isolate by a public health authority or the Canada Boarder Services Agency
  • It is ideal for passengers to only be in a vehicle with someone from within their household. When this is not possible, and you require a ride from a taxi service or from someone outside your household, please follow the steps outlined below to reduce the potential for community spread of respiratory illnesses:
    • Wash or sanitize your hands with an alcohol-based rub before and after exiting the vehicle.
    • It is required to wear a mask or face covering at all times during the trip.
    • Sit in the back seat opposite the driver to maintain the greatest physical distance possible.
    • Open car windows to allow for airflow.
    • If possible, use a touchless payment method such as online pre-pay or credit/debit card tap.
    • Follow cough and sneeze etiquette by coughing into a tissue or your elbow, and disposing of the tissue into a waste bin after exiting the vehicle.

Taxi Service Employers:

  • Increase awareness about COVID-19 through frequent communication with staff, including:
  • At the beginning of each workday or shift:
    • Screen drivers for COVID-19 symptoms, including the symptoms listed on the EOHU's website (Note: This site should be consulted on a weekly basis for any updates).
    • Drivers who are sick or who have any COVID-19 symptoms must be sent home immediately.
    • Drivers who are sick or who have had any COVID-19 symptoms as outlined above shall not be allowed to return to work until 14 days after onset of symptoms or as directed by public health or with written confirmation from a doctor.
  • Consider installing a physical barrier such as a Plexiglass window between the front and back seats of the vehicle to increase physical distance between drivers and passengers.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand rub and tissues in vehicles for driver and passenger use, as well as cleaning products, disinfectant wipes, and facemasks for driver use.
  • Place signage for cough and sneeze etiquette and hand sanitizing in vehicles where it can be seen by passengers (e.g. on the posterior of front seats in a clear plastic sleeve).
  • Place signage for mandatory masks where it can be seen by passengers. A sample sign is available on the EOHU’s website at www.eohu.ca/coronavirus. 
  • Create and provide a routine vehicle disinfecting checklist for drivers, to promote consistent vehicle disinfecting practices.

Professional and Volunteer Drivers:

  • Do not come to work or give anyone a ride if:
    • You have any COVID-19 symptoms, including the symptoms listed on the EOHU's website (Note: This site should be consulted on a weekly basis for any updates).
    • You have traveled outside of Canada in the last 14 days.
    • You are in close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.
    • You have been instructed to self-isolate by a public health authority or the Canada Boarder Services Agency.
  • It is required to wear a mask or face covering when interacting with a passenger.
  • Wash or sanitize hands often with an alcohol-based rub:
    • Before and after dropping off a passenger
    • After handling money, payment cards, or providing assistance with a passenger’s personal belongings (if unavoidable)
    • Before and after work shifts and breaks
    • Before and after pumping gas
    • After putting on, touching, or removing face coverings
  • Do not allow shared rides with people outside the primary passenger’s household.
  • Ask passengers to sit in the back to maintain physical distance.
  • Require passengers to wear a mask or face covering.
  • If transporting a passenger to or from a COVID-19 assessment centre, or a health care facility and/or if the passenger is displaying respiratory symptoms, ensure the windows of the vehicle are open to allow for airflow.
  • Consider asking passengers to handle their own personal belongings during pick up/drop off.
  • Thoroughly disinfect the vehicle regularly.

Cleaning and Disinfecting the Vehicle:

  • Disposable gloves should be worn when cleaning.
  • Frequently touched surfaces (e.g. handles, seats, headrests, armrests, buttons for windows and locks, and seatbelts) should be cleaned and disinfected:
    • At least twice per day, or after every ride if possible.
    • After transporting medical patients (e.g. to and from the hospital, assessment centre, or other health care settings), and after transporting passengers who display respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing).
  • Use appropriate cleaner and disinfectant as per manufacturer’s instructions (consult the list of acceptable disinfectants).
  • Disinfectant wipes combine cleaners and disinfectants in one solution. Wipes should be discarded if they become dry. Wipes are not recommended for heavily soiled surfaces.
  • Check the expiry date of products you use.

Content adapted with permission from Timiskaming Health Unit.

Eastern Ontatio Health Unit / Bureau de santé de l'Ontario