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Chicago Rideshare Driver Denied Face Covering Exemption Request

Published on May 13, 2020 at 7:18 am in News.

A judge in Chicago denied a rideshare driver’s request to be exempt from wearing a face covering while driving passengers around. As of an April 30 executive order, all individuals in Illinois are required to wear face covers when social distancing guidelines cannot be practiced in public spaces.

Justin Mahwikizi filed a temporary restraining order on May 6 in an attempt to prevent the state from enforcing the face covering policy on him. In his request, Mahwikizi contended that wearing a face covering while driving could lead to his losing consciousness and potentially colliding with other vehicles. Additionally, he argued that he could be harmed by rideshare passengers who object to the face covering rules or he could be targeted by gangs for unknowingly wearing certain coverings.

According to Cook County Circuit Judge Celia G. Gamrath, who rejected Mahwikizi’s request, “While the [c]ourt sympathizes with Mahwikizi’s concerns and fear about COVID-19 safety measures and restrictions, an injunction will not issue to allay mere fears. Moreover, the balance of hardships weighs considerably against issuing an injunction, and weighs in favor of Governor Pritzker and his effort to protect the public at large.”

In an email to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Mahwikizi, who represented himself, said that he expected his request to be denied but that he wanted to challenge Governor Pritzker’s order because it disrupted the status quo. He plans to appeal the ruling.

With the new Uber and Lyft face mask requirements for drivers and riders, both parties must wear masks and agree to additional terms to access the apps. If your rideshare driver isn’t wearing a mask, you have the right to decline the ride and report them to their ride-hailing company. In the event they remove their mask at any point during the trip, they are disobeying the required guidelines put in place for your safety and should be held accountable for actions.

With the coronavirus pandemic, you may feel like filing a personal injury claim now isn’t the right time. However, if you contract COVID-19 from a negligent driver, you may be able to seek compensation for any related medical bills and lost wages. Litigation matters involving COVID-19 are complex given how new the situation is, but the lawyers at the Rideshare Law Group can look into your situation to determine if you have a case.

To learn more about your legal rights and options, schedule a free consultation with our firm today. We’ll review your situation and do what we can to help you recover your losses.