I came into the rideshare industry in the summer 2015. Like any job that involves the transportation of the general public in a vehicle, I assumed the risks. As rideshare drivers we have had to deal with so much just to bring in enough money to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads. Drivers have been spit on, cursed and insulted by irate pax, often for something as minor as not accommodating a rider's request.

False accusations, wage theft scams, vomitting pax and other car damage are constant threats. Pax routinely demand we break both traffic and child safety laws for them on a regular basis. All of this I accepted as a risk while performing my job and took precautions to protect myself from these threats, but how could I ever have predicted this, the Coronavirus would be possibly the thing to end my rideshare gig?

Not only do we run a higher risk of catching it, but we run the risk of bringing it home to our families. Our elderly loved ones are more vulnerable to this virus. Are we sure we want to risk that by driving? I suppose if we do we must take extraordinary precautions not to transfer it to others.

How though? The CDC information is limited and testing so far in the US has been very little compared to other countries. Every day we hear of more death, with the threat creeping closer and closer to home.

In some states they have closed businesses and many employees were sent home to work. Schools and daycares are also closed leaving the parents who are still working outside the home struggling to find adequate child care. What about those folks who are still working? For how long? When will they shut down the retail and service industries? How will those people be able pay their bill's? Does anyone have enough money saved up to pay their living expenses for the two months this is predicted? If not, will there be government assistance? Can this nation afford to give out the monumental wave of unemployment assistance that it yet to come?

This was all weighing heavily on my mind today so I thought I'd take a drive around my city to see how the other rideshare drivers are dealing with this. Will anyone even be driving? What additional steps will they be taking to protect themselves? Will I see everyone driving around with masks? Taped up plastic screens?

Pictures my friend's shared with me of actual rideshare drivers taking precautions.
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I drove to the local hot spots that normally, on this nice afternoon, would be bustling with activity. Sidewalks should be choked with people standing almost elbow to elbow, each staring down at their phones and glancing up hopefully as every rideshare car approaches. The Boardwalk would be packed with tourists, all in town for business or recreation.

However the scene today was dramatically different from even this time last week. The streets were empty except for a few brave folks who dared to venture out. None seem interested in approaching the endless line of parked rideshare vehicles, each with the drivers sitting listlessly staring at their phones in anticipation.

I glanced at the drivers as I drove by and debated if I really needed to go online today, or if perhaps I could find another way to pay an upcoming bill. As I reached the end of the street I glanced over at Coscto. Oh look, Costco is jam packed! Look at all the people. I'm sure Walmart is the same way too.

As I marveled at the frantic shoppers, all racing in panic mode to the front door, I accidentally made eye contact with a lady standing by the front door next to 2 fully packed shopping carts. As she spotted me she held her phone up, waving frantically and staring at my car. No thanks and I'm not your driver lady! I hit the accelerator just a bit extra as I got out of there fast. Not going online here, that's for sure.

I decided to find a spot to pull over, away from all the other rideshare drivers, and check out my apps. 75 drivers in the airport queue on Uber? 42 on Lyft, Really?? I would have thought the airport would be the last place any driver would want to work.

Then I remembered this forum. I've skimmed through it time to time, but I've got a dilemma now and I'd like to know what others plan to do? Continue driving until you get sick, if you get sick? Then what? Should drivers over 60 not even drive at all? What about if you smoke? Does this heighten your susceptibility?

As it is right now we can't even clear our throats are cough lightly without pax giving us the panic stare. Some want to try and diagnose us right there in the car by trying to ask our whole medical and travel history. What will Uber's response be if the pax report we were coughing? Also what about the pax? What do you do if they start coughing in your car? Is it allergies, cigarettes, or something else? How would we know?

Please share your thoughts. Are you still driving?