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Lime scooters on Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Wash. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

Lime is pausing its e-scooter and e-bike services in California, Washington, Italy, France, and Spain, starting Tuesday. The company said the closures are intended to slow the spread of COVID-19.

In Lime’s remaining markets, the company is expanding its cleaning procedures and recommending riders wipe down scooters and bikes or wear gloves.

“Like you, we are worried about the cities we love and call home, the people we serve, and our colleagues on the ground,” Lime said in a blog post. “Loving cities means protecting them too. For now, we’re pausing Lime service to help people stay put and stay safe.”

Lime began removing its e-bikes from Seatle streets last year amid ongoing discussions with the city government about a scooter-share pilot. That pilot was slotted to start this spring but its future looks unclear as Seattle struggles to slow the coronavirus outbreak that is rocking the city. Lime’s rentable electric scooters were available in other Washington cities that permitted them before Tuesday’s announcement.

Seattle’s last remaining bike-share service, JUMP, will continue operating in the city with a reduced fleet size. The Uber-owned company will keep evaluating the situation as it evolves, according to Uber spokesperson Stephanie Sedlak.

“We have increased the frequency of cleaning, and we are disinfecting all JUMP e-bikes and scooters coming in and out of the warehouses,” she said in an email. “Staff responsible for handling JUMP vehicles are wearing gloves and washing their hands often. We will be vigilant in our cleaning process, but we also encourage riders to clean the handles of their vehicle before and after use (for instance, with a disinfectant wipe).”

Uber said Tuesday it will suspend pooled rides in North America and Lyft is suspending shared rides in all markets in response to the pandemic.

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