SAN ANTONIO — For Andrew Sutton, cleaning the handles of his car was never a common occurrence. Now it's part of his routine.
Between each Uber or Lyft rider he picks up, he spends time sanitizing all of the surfaces they've touched—inside the car and out.
It's time-consuming, but more importantly, it keeps this ride-share driver feeling safe.
"I think last night was a little of a wake-up call for me," Sutton said as he drove around northwest San Antonio.
Wednesday night changed everything for a lot of people. Within the span of about half an hour, President Donald Trump announced a 30-day travel ban to Europe starting Friday and the NBA suspended its season after a player tested positive for coronavirus.
"It was a great night," he recalled. "All of a sudden it wasn't. It was like crickets out there."
It's an inflection point he fears may only get worse if paranoia progresses and business bottoms.
"I'm nervous about Fiesta," he said. "I think most drivers are taking this seriously and we're in it with everybody. So if somebody gets into our car that's sick, then we're going to get sick."
Uber is beginning to address those concerns. In an email to drivers, the company stated:
- They're working to get cleaning supplies to drivers, prioritizing the hardest-hit cities.
- They are looking to suspend drivers and riders with confirmed cases of coronavirus
- They will try and provide financial assistance for drivers who have to quarantine.
All steps that will keep Sutton on the road for now, but he said he will always be ready to log off, for his safety and that of others'.