Whether you’re someone who inexplicably felt comfortable dining indoors during the pandemic (when that was an option), or you want to continue to support your local restaurants, but are concerned about whether they’re taking the proper safety precautions, Yelp wants to make the whole process easier for us. It’s also in their best interest: the company reported that it saw consumer interest increase by 41% for businesses that added COVID-19 business updates to their Yelp pages between September 1 and December 31, 2020.
Over the summer, Yelp revamped the COVID-19 section on businesses’ pages to allow them to easily add information about their updated service offerings and specific health and safety precautions. At the same time, the app enabled users to leave feedback on the health and safety practices they observed at businesses—a way to clue other customers in on any less-than-ideal experiences.
This week, Yelp rolled out additional features to help customers learn about a restaurant’s COVID-19 safety precautions, as well as report when they see staff ignoring public health measures, like wearing a mask. Here’s what to know.
Yelp’s new COVID-19 safety features
These updates were added to the app on Tuesday, January 12. Here’s how the company explained them in a recent blog post:
Yelp will display if users observed, or did not observe, the enforcement of social distancing and staff wearing masks. We know many businesses are prioritizing the health and safety of their customers. This new update further highlights how businesses have adapted to keep their customers safe, and aims to instill confidence in consumers to continue supporting local businesses.
We’ve also added new service offerings and health and safety practices, including “heated outdoor seating,” “1:1 sessions available,” and “disposable or contactless menu” to help businesses communicate how they’re continuing to adapt amidst changing health orders and consumer expectations.
In addition to displaying information on user observations, Yelp’s new features make it easier for customers to leave feedback on a restaurant’s adherence to public health measures.
It also allows businesses to indicate whether they have enacted the following service offerings and health and safety practices:
- Staff checked for symptoms (available to all businesses)
- Disposable or contactless menu (available to restaurants, bars, and nightlife)
- Heated outdoor seating (available to restaurants, bars, and nightlife)
- Covered outdoor seating (available to restaurants, bars, and nightlife)
- Indoor dining (available to restaurants, bars, and nightlife)
- Private dining (available to restaurants)
- DIY meal kits (available to restaurants)
- Outdoor services (available to fitness and beauty businesses)
- 1:1 sessions available (available to fitness businesses)
- Limited group sessions available (available to fitness businesses)
There is a lot more information on Yelp’s blog post—including on how they’ll make sure the user-generated feedback is fairly represented.