Waymo’s COVID-19 safety tightens as it faces another possible shutdown

Waymo’s self-driving passenger service is once again facing the risk of a another COVID-19 shutdown, and those involved are reportedly taking no chances. CNBC says it has obtained email from a Waymo partner warning staff of stricter “COVID Safety Policy Changes” they’ll need to accept to continue working. They’ll need to wear masks at all times unless they’re eating or on break, and even then they’ll only be allowed to go mask-free if they’re isolated, outside or in a one-person restroom. Six-foot social distancing is mandatory. And crucially, staff face harsh consequences if they’re caught violating the rules.

The company still plans to pay quarantined workers, but they’ll lose that pay if they violated policy. Those caught breaking rules on the job will face up to a five-day suspension and a seven-point performance deduction. Workers found violating the rules again might face additional deductions or be fired. The partner added that measures would be “actively monitored,” including through random spot checks.