Uber provides free meals, discounted rides for health care workers

Major companies including Starbucks, Uber, Facebook and Apple are stepping up to help health care workers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. USA TODAY

Corrections & Clarifications: An earlier version of this story understated the number of first responders represented by 1199SEIU. 

Free meals and discounted Uber rides are now available for over 25,000 health care workers in certain regions of the U.S. who are helping respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.  

This is part of Uber’s latest partnership with health care union 1199SEIU, which represents over 450,000 first responders in the country.

Uber says the $2-million partnership will serve health care workers in New York, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland, offering 20% off rides to and from their facilities.

”Each and every day 1199SEIU members put aside their own fears and go to work on the front lines, helping to save lives in the face of a global pandemic,” says George Gresham, president of 1199SEIU.

Acknowledging the challenges the workers may face with long hours and odd shifts, Uber has provided 25,000 meal codes for the union to distribute across the facilities in the five states.

Companies such as Apple and Walmart have embraced similar efforts to help health care workers amid the pandemic. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted on Saturday that the company would donate millions of masks to health professionals in the U.S. and Europe. 

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Our teams at Apple have been working to help source supplies for healthcare providers fighting COVID-19. We’re donating millions of masks for health professionals in the US and Europe. To every one of the heroes on the front lines, we thank you.

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 21, 2020

Walmart said in a blog post Sunday that it would use its parking lots to serve first responders and health care workers who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19. The company's two pilot locations began testing in the Chicago area. 

Health care workers are on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis amid a widespread shortage of medical supplies.

Follow Coral Murphy on Twitter @CoralMerfi

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2020/03/25/uber-offers-meals-discounted-rides-first-responders-covid-19/2910845001/

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