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Uber will bail out food-delivery workers arrested past curfew

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FILE – In this Nov. 15, 2019, file photo an Uber office is seen in Secaucus, N.J. Just as the coronavirus outbreak has boxed in society, it’s also squeezed high-flying tech companies reliant on people’s freedom to move around and get together. Uber has tried to reassure investors that it has enough cash to weather the fallout from the global pandemic and is turning to deliveries to make up for lost income after ride-hailing screeched to a halt.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Food-delivery companies are pledging to protect their workers by offering legal support to those delivery people who are wrongly arrested for making deliveries past curfew in New York City.

The curfew, implemented to control protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, is in effect every day from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. until June 8, but essential workers, including people who make food deliveries, are permitted to do their jobs during those hours, according to the office of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

If they are stopped by police, delivery people need only to identify themselves as essential workers. They are not required to show ID or a business card. Those individuals who are not exempt from the curfew are to be given “every opportunity to return home,’ according to guidelines from the mayor’s office. 

Despite this, videos appear to show at least one delivery worker for Caviar, a food-delivery company owned by DoorDash, being arrested by NYPD officers while lawfully making a delivery just past curfew.  

“We are alarmed by reports that a courier appears to have been arrested this evening in New York City shortly after curfew,” DoorDash said in a statement to CBS News. 

“Essential workers must be able to complete their work and feel safe and secure while doing so, and we are prepared to provide them with our support,” the DoorDash statement added. 

Online food-ordering service Uber Eats is also committing to protecting its workers, pledging to offer them legal support if they are wrongly arrested for violating the curfew while delivering on the app. 

“During the last several months, delivery people have been critical to keeping New York City going.None of these essential workers should now have to fear that they will be arrested simply for trying to work, especially when the city government has asked them to continue delivering food to New Yorkers during the curfew,” Uber said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch. 

Uber said it called both the NPYD and de Blasio’s office to ask that government officials remind the city’s police officers that delivering food has been deemed an essential service, and that Uber Eats workers are exempt from the curfew. 

Uber also said it will “aggressively petition City Hall and the NYPD on their behalf.”

Uber Eats, Uber’s food-delivery arm, said it reminded delivery people this week of their right to work past curfew, a company spokeswoman said. 

Mayor de Blasio later condemned the arrest and said the city would protect the rights of essential workers. 

This article is adapted from CBS News.

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