Uber Pool suspended in US and Canada to limit coronavirus spread

It's unclear when the service will return.

Uber Pool has been suspended in the US and Canada, according to Reuters. The ride-hailing giant has put its carpooling service on hold to help limit the spread of COVID-19 -- it'll be impossible to maintain "social distancing" when you have to share a car with several strangers, after all. Uber has disabled the option in both countries, so you can't share a trip with up to three passengers to save money for a while.

The World Health Organization strongly suggests social distancing, or staying a few meters away from other people, as a basic protective measure against the new coronavirus. It's meant to minimize contact and to slow the spread of COVID-19. Uber Rides and Platform SVP Andrew Macdonald told Reuters in a statement: "Our goal is to help flatten the curve on community spread in the cities we serve." A spokesperson also said that Uber will evaluate whether it needs to suspend Uber Pool in other regions on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to suspending its carpooling service, Uber will start showing users in the US and Canada a message asking them to "travel only when necessary." It will encourage riders to wash their hands before and after a ride and sitting in the backseat to help protect its drivers, as well.

Yesterday, Uber Eats announced that it's waiving delivery fees for over 100,000 independent restaurants as a way to serve people who have to stay at home. It's also offering 14 days of financial assistance to drivers who were diagnosed with the disease or need to be quarantined because of it.