As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the United States, Lyft is facing backlash for its Thanksgiving message—one that doesn’t match up with the recommendations from many local health and government officials.
In addition to Lyft’s rideshare service, the company also has a rental car offering. It’s currently trying to leverage the upcoming holiday as a marketing opportunity. Users received push notifications and emails encouraging utilizing the service: “Last-minute Thanksgiving plans? Rent a car and make them happen.”
This marketing push comes as the United States recently surpassed 11 million COVID-19 cases. On November 17, the country had its highest daily death toll in the past six months, and places like New York City and numerous California counties are facing new restrictions.
While Lyft’s car rental page indicates safety is a top priority and that “protocols and thorough cleaning processes some recipients didn’t appreciate the call-to-action given the latest surge in COVID-19 cases. People expressed their opinions on Twitter, discussing Lyft’s irresponsibility and absentmindedness.
In response to the criticism, a Lyft spokesperson released the following statement to CNN Business: “We recognize that there are changing local guidelines and regulations related to COVID-19 and Thanksgiving travel, and as always, we encourage our users to follow those guidelines – we should have made that more clear in the email.” In addition to that statement, the company’s campaign has been paused.
An emergency department doctor said that he is deeply concerned about this holiday season. He predicts “an unprecedented surge of cases following Thanksgiving this year.” Experts say those who plan to visit family should quarantine for 14 days first.
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