Drivers of ride-hailing services Thursday demanded their employers provide them with protective equipment to reduce their risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Representatives from the Mobile Workers Alliance cited the city’s Safer at Home orders, which direct employers to provide cloth face coverings, necessary sanitizing products and access to sanitary restrooms for employees of businesses deemed essential during the pandemic.

“Make no mistake, ride-share drivers in California and across the country are front line workers in this epic battle against COVID-19,” said Trade Workers Union of America International president John Samuelsen. “While these workers have been risking their lives by transporting nurses, paramedics, doctors and other essential personnel, Uber and Lyft are shamefully doing everything they can to avoid paying their fair share to American society.”

During a brief conference call with union representatives, one Lyft driver said he felt “trapped” by the companies’ system.

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced this month that any essential business must provide adequate resources for their employees, including allowing them to wash their hands at least every 30 minutes, as part of the Safer at Home orders.

“Last week, we began distributing ear-loop face masks to active drivers and delivery people around the United States,” Grant Klinzman, an Uber spokesperson told City News Service. “Our first shipments of masks have been going out in the mail direct to drivers’ homes. We are focusing first on cities with the most need (like New York City) and cities that have mandated essential workers wear masks (like Los Angeles).”

City News Service has reached out to Lyft for comment but has not received a response at this time.

Klinzman told CNS that the majority their Uber drivers in Los Angeles have requested masks “and should receive them in the mail by the end of the week.”

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