The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to Ola passengers as to appropriate measures to take, when riding with an Ola driver, to minimise the risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19.
All Ola passengers are responsible for complying with this policy.
Maintaining the highest standards of health and safety
Both drivers and passengers have a duty to take reasonable steps to care for their own well-being and to avoid harming the health of others. Passengers can do their part to help minimise the spread of infectious viruses when taking ride services.
Ola is committed to doing everything that is reasonably practicable to minimise the risks associated for both Ola drivers and passengers, by requesting passengers to apply the following steps when riding with Ola.
Before commencing a ride service with Ola, passengers are requested to:-
- Conduct a self assessment: to stay home if feeling unwell.
- Keep an alcohol-based sanitiser (containing 60% alcohol) with them.
- Self-isolate if tested positive for COVID-19, have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or arrived from international travel since 29 March 2020 (specific to Australia) and 9 April 2020 (specific to New Zealand).
- Follow instructions as displayed on the ‘Reduce the risk’ (AU) or the ‘Protect yourself and others against COVID-19’ (NZ) signage in the driver’s vehicle, for steps passengers can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- If concerned about their health, passengers are to consult with their doctor.
Ola requests that all passengers and drivers follow the advice of the Australian Government Department of Health’s website or the New Zealand Ministry of Health – COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) website as to government imposed restrictions. This is a particular necessity as restrictions are progressively lifted across each jurisdiction within Australia and New Zealand.
In addition to the government guidelines, Ola drivers are to adhere to the following Health and Safety Policy for COVID-19 as to measures drivers should adopt, to reduce the risks of transmission and exposure.
Latest Australian Government advice
The Australian Government is taking steps to reduce the spread of coronavirus including mandatory 14 day self isolation for visiting or returning travellers, please see: Advice for travellers.
The latest government advice for rideshare drivers is available here.
If a passenger suspects that they may have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), please call the dedicated Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. Visit WHO’s website for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.
Please also see the Point to Point Commission – Video – Keeping drivers and passengers safe.
Latest New Zealand Government advice
The New Zealand Government is taking steps to relax restrictions put in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus disease. For border control information as to mandatory 14 day self isolation for visiting or returning travellers and use of public transport information, please see: COVID-19 – Border controls.
If a passenger suspects that they may have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), please call the Ministry of Health Information Line on 0800 855 066. Visit WHO’s website for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
Please keep Triple One (111) for emergencies only.
Face mask use in general
The Australian Department of Health’s overall advice about when masks should be worn in the community, is determined by each of the States and Territories based on their local circumstances.
Generally, the recommendation is masks and/or face coverings can help protect the wearer and others particularly in an area of increased community transmission and especially where physical distancing of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained.
It is important for the community to follow the advice of their particular area, as a person may be required to wear a mask where community transmission is occurring as stated here.
For information on the New Zealand government’s health advice please see: COVID-19: Use of face masks in the community.
Proper mask use – Specific to Australia
Face masks are a type of personal protective equipment (PPE) used to assist in the prevention of spreading of infectious diseases. Where face mask use is recommended, Ola passengers should ensure the mask is worn correctly and disposed of safely to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
The following is recommended for proper mask use:
- Wash and sanitise hands before putting on or taking off the mask.
- Ensure the mask is worn properly so that the mask covers the user’s nose and mouth and fits snugly under the chin, over the bridge of the nose and against the sides of the face.
- Avoid touching the front of the mask while worn and when removing the mask.
- Do not allow the mask to hang loosely near the neck area or underneath the nose.
- Do not reuse the mask if it becomes moist, is soiled or after eating/drinking.
- Reduce the risk of cross-contamination:
- Do not reuse single use masks (disposable masks) and ensure to dispose of safely.
- Wash reusable masks after use and dry in a clean dry area and store safely.
While a face mask is the recommended face covering, the use of non-medical type masks including cloth masks or home-made face coverings assists in protecting the wearer and others to prevent the spread of droplets. The Coronavirus is contagious and can spread from close contact with an infected person through droplets when a person speaks, cough, laughs or sneezes.
The face covering should cover the nose and mouth and can include a:
- Face mask made from paper or textile designed to be worn over the nose and mouth. The face mask does not have to be medical grade.
- Face shield made of a plastic or transparent material designed to be worn like a visor. The shield should cover from the person’s forehead to below the chin and cover the sides of the person’s face.
- A scarf, bandana or a home made cloth mask.
COVID-19 region clusters – Specific to Australia
In some jurisdictions as COVID-19 clusters are identified and the spread of the Coronavirus continues, extra precautions such as wearing a face covering may become mandatory. The advice may vary in regions where community transmission is high as stated here.
For example, from 11:59pm on Sunday 2 August everyone in the state of Victoria over the age of 12 years must wear a face covering whenever they leave home unless an exemption applies.
While in NSW, residents should consider wearing a face mask in situations where physical distancing is not possible.
Mandatory facial covering for Metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire
As of 11.59pm on Wednesday, 22 July 2020, residents in Metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire are required to wear a face covering when in public for one of the four permitted reasons or risk a fine of $200, unless an exception applies. A face covering needs to cover both the wearer’s nose and mouth and can include a face mask and face shield.
The order to wear a face covering includes any person visiting Metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire for one of the permitted reasons as stated here.
For people living outside these areas, it is also recommended to wear a face covering where physical distancing of 1.5 metres is not possible until the order of 2 August commences. For more information on PPE can be found here on the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
It is the expectation of Ola, that all drivers and passengers throughout Victoria must wear a face covering at all times, when conducting trips on the Ola platform and especially when visiting Metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire.
The main value of wearing a face covering such a mask is to protect other people by reducing the chance of passing the virus onto others.
For people at increased risk of severe COVID-19 themselves because of older age or chronic illness, physical distancing is most important. If physical distancing is difficult to maintain, e.g. in public transport, wearing a mask or other facial covering can provide some extra protection adding a protective physical barrier.
Physical distancing – Specific to Australia
The nature of ride services means that physical distancing in a vehicle will be challenging as drivers are limited in their ability to maintain recommended social distancing from passengers. There are steps that can be taken by both the drivers and passengers to maximum social distancing to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
All Ola drivers are responsible for ensuring physical distancing is practiced as much as is possible in their vehicles.
Ola’s expectation is that it’s the duty of drivers and passengers to maintain the health and safety of themselves and for the driver to provide a safe and quality service to Ola’s customers.
When travelling in from the international airport after arriving from an ‘at-risk’ country, the passenger must follow the Australian Department of Health’s advice and wear a surgical mask, if available. If the passenger refuses to do so, the driver should refuse the ride until the passenger complies.
Returning international passengers are to take the following precautions:
- Avoid direct contact with the driver: please do not shake the driver’s hand.
- Handle own luggage: if a passenger has luggage, the driver will open the boot but avoid touching the luggage and request the passenger handle their own luggage.
- Maintain a distance: sit in the rear passenger seat (specific to Australia).
- Practice good cough/sneeze hygiene by using a tissue or own elbow.
- Dispose of used tissues in a safe manner and discard when outside of the vehicle.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
Picking up local Passengers
Passengers must always:
- Maintain a social distance: practice social distancing – shaking hands is not required and make sure to sanitise hands whenever possible.
- Sit in the back of the vehicle (specific to Australia).
- If the passenger is showing signs or symptoms of being unwell such as coughing, sniffling or sneezing, the passenger should take all measures to protect the driver and themselves by following the list of precautions referred to above.
During the COVID-19 global pandemic, Ola passengers may be required to self isolate for a period of 14 days when showing any flu-like symptoms, to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Passengers should immediately self isolate if they are feeling unwell or are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, have been tested for COVID-19 and awaiting results or have been required by health authorities to self-isolate.
The Australian Department of Health’s advice has advised passengers who are required to self-isolate to use a personal mode of transport to minimise exposure to others, where possible, please see: Isolation for Covid-19.
Similarly, the New Zealand government Ministry of Health’s advice requires that passengers use their own modes of transport during self isolation, please see: COVID-19: Self-isolation for close contacts and travellers.
If travel is absolutely required during this period and the passenger needs to use a ride service to travel to a location for example, for isolation, the Australian Department of Health’s advice is for passengers to adopt the following precautions:
- Encouraged to wear a surgical mask, if available.
- Avoid direct contact with the driver or any other passengers.
- Practise good hand hygiene in particular cough/sneeze hygiene practices:
- frequently wash hands with soap and water, before and after eating and after going to the toilet.
- Cover mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or cough and /or sneeze into own elbow or upper arm, dispose of tissues after use, and use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol to clean hands afterwards.
- Maintain 1.5 metre distance from other people if unwell or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or other infectious diseases.
If a driver forms an opinion that the passenger has not taken the above precautions and cannot provide a safe service, then the driver may choose to refuse or terminate the trip. Group transport of at-risk people, including older people, should be avoided where possible.
Equal opportunity and anti-discrimination laws may apply to fare refusal if a driver refuses the trip or cancels a trip based on the passenger’s nationality, disability or cultural background.
If the passenger holds any concerns about the health of the driver, the passenger can report their concerns to the Ola Safety Team via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
When the passenger shows signs of being unwell
As part of the ride service, both drivers and passengers should cooperate in applying measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
If the passenger is showing signs or symptoms of being unwell, the driver should ask the passenger to sit at the back of the car on the passenger side.
If the driver is very concerned (if say, the passenger tells the driver that they have just arrived from overseas), or the passenger is clearly in breach of the guidelines, the driver must report to the Health Authorities and must lodge a complaint with Ola.
Health Authorities contact details for Australia and New Zealand
For the latest advice, information and resources, please see: www.health.gov.au.
Call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If translating or interpreting services are required please call 131 450. The phone number of the relevant state or territory public health agency is available at www.health.gov.au/state-territory-contacts.
Contact tracing is the process of identifying people who may have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 via the COVIDSafe-app.
The process is a key element of the public health response to take measures to help stop the further spread of COVID-19 (such as getting tested or self-isolating).
If the passenger is concerned they may have symptoms (even mild), including fever, chills or sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or loss of sense of smell, they should consult with their general practitioner (GP), the 24-hour coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 or use the Australian Government Department of Health – healthdirect Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptom Checker.
In some cases, headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea may present as symptoms.
Mental health resources
- Lifeline Australia 13 11 14: A crisis support service offering short term support at any time for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe: www.lifeline.org.au.
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
- Mental health information and support: www.beyondblue.org.au.
For the latest advice, information and resources, please see: COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
For COVID-19 health advice and information, contact the Healthline team (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMS.
The Ministry of Health uses Contact tracing for COVID-19 to locate people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. In addition, the mandatory requirement for small passenger vehicle operators to use log books (recording the details of ride services) and to maintain the details of registered passengers, will assist with this process.
A person exhibiting any of the COVID-19 symptoms should get assessed as recommended, please see: Assessment and testing for COVID-19.
Mental health resources
- Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time
- Lifeline – 0800 543 354
- Samaritans – 0800 726 666
- Chinese Lifeline – 0800 888 880 (for people who speak Mandarin or Cantonese).
If you have any questions or comments regarding anything in this document or if you require further information, you can email us at email@example.com.