Yelp announced it will now indicate based on customer reviews how well restaurants are enforcing certain COVID-19 health and safety precautions, such as wearing masks and social distancing.
In a blog post published Tuesday, Yelp announced it will prompt users to say whether or not they observed restaurant staff wearing masks and observing social distancing. The results will be displayed so future customers can be aware of each restaurant’s specific health and safety precautions, Yelp said.
Yelp will regularly update the COVID-19 section on business pages to reflect the consensus of user responses.
A green checkmark would indicate that most users said safety protocols are enforced.
An orange question mark will indicate a majority of or a mixed number of users said the measures are not being followed.
In this photo illustration, a Yelp logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
"Users can share feedback via survey questions, similar to how they can let us know about other business information, like whether the business accepts credit cards," Yelp said in its blog post. "Users can also provide feedback through the ‘Edit’ icon that appears in the top right of the COVID-19 updates section."
Yelp will also use push notifications to notify users when a business they’ve recently connected with has updated their COVID-19 information. Businesses are able to update their page if they begin offering heated outdoor seating or 1:1 sessions, or to say if they’re using disposable or contactless menus.
Yelp’s new policy comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Between Sept. 1 and New Year’s Eve, Yelp saw a 41% increase for businesses that added COVID-19 updates to their Yelp.
According to a study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eating in a restaurant or drinking at a bar may heighten the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 compared to other social activities, including shopping, visiting a salon or working at an office.
This story was reported from Atlanta.